Businesses negatively impacted by water outage now eligible for SBA loans

Published 6:00 am Monday, September 4, 2017

Small businesses impacted by the water main break in Vicksburg that occurred in May will now be eligible for economic injury disaster loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

SBA announced via a press release Saturday that small businesses in Warren County will be eligible to apply for a low-interest loan following a request for a disaster designation by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant.

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“Traditionally, small businesses for the SBA will have a revenue of less than $1 million, but we do encourage everyone to go to the SBA website. In emergencies, that might change,” Vicksburg-Warren Chamber of Commerce executive director Pablo Diaz said.

Eligible businesses, which include small businesses and nonprofit organizations, will be able to apply for loans up to $2 million with a term of up to 30 years.  The loans will have an interest rate of 2.5 percent for nonprofits and 3.215 percent for small businesses.

“The SBA can help affected small businesses and nonprofit organizations overcome their economic losses by offering working capital loans, but the help cannot start until they submit an SBA Disaster Loan application to us,” said Janita Stewart, SBA’s district director in Mississippi.

The city of Vicksburg was without water for three days after a valve broke on the city’s 36-inch main waterline around 11 a.m. May 17. The repairs took three days to complete as contractors were forced to build an earthen dam around the area and pump out 10 feet of floodwater from the Mississippi River before making the repairs.

Businesses that were forced to close during the outage and the boil water notice that followed will be able to apply for the loans.

“Traditionally, they will have to prove that they are a small business and that they are located within the zone that has been designated a disaster zone,” Diaz said.

“In this case, it would be business residents of Warren County. They will have to, to some extent, demonstrate that there was a financial loss because of the days or weeks that the water was unavailable.”

The deadline to submit an application is June 1, 2018.

Businesses can download a loan application from the SBA’s website at  www.sba.gov/disaster.

Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155. Applications can also be filled out online at disasterloan.sba.gov/ela.

For more information, call the SBA’s customer service center at 1-800-659-2955 or send an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.