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County Comment: County eligible for federal small business disaster loans

County Comment
County eligible for federal small business disaster loans
By Norman Bassett
Public Information Officer

Hagerstown, MD (November 30, 2011) - As a result of this summer's drought, certain Washington County businesses may be entitled to assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). According to the Washington County Emergency Management Office, the SBA has announced the availability of federal economic injury disaster loans to small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private non-profit organizations of all sizes in Allegany, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Harford and Washington counties as a result of drought and excessive heat that occurred from June 1st through August 30th, 2011.
The counties are eligible because they are contiguous to one or more primary counties in Pennsylvania. The SBA said it recognizes that disasters do not usually stop at county or state lines; therefore, counties adjacent to primary counties named in the declaration are included, SBA's Field Operations Center East said.
The Secretary of Agriculture issues disaster declarations to help farmers recover from damages and losses to crops, and the SBA issues declarations to assist eligible entities affected by the same disaster.
Under this declaration, the SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is available to eligible farm-related and nonfarm-related entities that suffered financial losses as a direct result of this disaster. With the exception of aquacultural enterprises, farmers, ranchers and agricultural producers are not eligible to apply to SBA, but nurseries are eligible to apply for economic injury disaster loans for losses caused by drought conditions.
The loan amount can be up to $2 million with a 3 percent interest for non-profit organizations, 4 percent for small businesses and terms up to 30 years. The SBA determines eligibility based on the size of the applicant, type of activity and its financial resources. Loan amounts and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant's financial condition. These working capital loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits.
Disaster loan information and application forms may be obtained by calling the SBA's Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to Loan applications can be downloaded from Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.
Those affected by the disaster may apply for disaster loans from SBA's secure website at
Completed loan applications must be returned to SBA no later than July 9, 2012.

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