Businesses and other entities in northern Minnesota affected by this summer's floods may be eligible for a new stream of relief money.
On Friday the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development said $15 million in loans could help affected businesses pay for repairs, fixtures and equipment, loss of inventory and cleanup costs.
Businesses, including cooperatives, utilities and nonprofits, would not apply for the loans themselves, but individual communities would request the money and then allocate the funds to local businesses.
"Communities know their own businesses better than someone in St. Paul," said DEED spokesman Monte Hanson. "The idea is to localize the funding."
The loans are available for the 15 counties and three tribal lands included in the presidential disaster declaration in July. The fund is part of the $167 million disaster relief bill that Gov. Mark Dayton and the Legislature approved in August.
Although the aid is considered a loan, it is interest free, Hanson said, and businesses have 10 years to repay the money. In addition, if the business remains open for those 10 years, 50 percent of the loan is forgiven.
Hanson said communities can begin applying for the funds immediately. Business owners in affected communities are also encouraged to meet with local leaders to request funding. Business owners have until December 31, 2013, to close on a loan.
Alejandra Matos • 612-673-4028