Healdsburg offers zero-interest loans to small businesses

File Photo: The City of Healdsburg, California seal.

The city of Healdsburg on Friday began offering zero-interest to help small brick-and-mortar businesses within city limits weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

The $600,000 Small Business Sustainability Loan Program will supply loans up to $15,000 for businesses with 25 or fewer employees and businesses with six to 25 full-time employees. 

Businesses with five or fewer full-time employees are eligible for loans up to $5,000.

The funds will help businesses cover day-to-day operating expenses, lease or mortgage payments, materials, supplies and services. Loan payments will be deferred until May 1, 2021.

"It is extremely important to help protect our local small businesses in this crisis. These zero-interest loans will help them pay their bills and other necessities," Mayor Leah Gold said.

The $600,000 funding for the program comes from the city's Measure V half-cent sales tax that pays for public safety, street maintenance and repair and economic development.

Loan applications will be reviewed weekly until the program's funds are fully exhausted, Details are available on the city's website.

Eligible businesses must hold a current business license with the city as of March 1, 2020 and be in good standing with the city regarding current utility bills and having no liens or judgments.

Businesses that receive loans up to $5,000 have three years after May 1, 2021 to repay the loans, and recipients with loans up to $15,000 have five years after May 2021 to repay their loans. Collateral is not required and there will be no loan fees or points.

Given the $600,000 funding limit, the number of available loans the city can offer depends on the number of businesses that apply.