City Council reinstates business improvement loans

A successful business improvement loan program was reinstated by the Sonoma City Council Monday.

The program, long in existence and part of an award-winning Economic Development Strategy, was cancelled when its funding source, the Sonoma Community Development Agency, was dissolved by the state legislature.

Funding such items as façade improvements, access ramps for the disabled, signage and permanent interior building improvements, the program provided low-interest loans to many small businesses that met basic criteria.

The only caveat was that the business had to be located within the redevelopment agency project area.

The reinstated program has been updated and no longer has redevelopment project area limitations, making funds available for businesses located within the city limits. Other differences are that this is a single program, providing up to $5,000 in matching-fund loans in a single category (or a $10,000 total over three years). The program is targeted at business owners who own or lease the property (not commercial property owners, unless they operate the business at that location). Another change is that “formula businesses,” as defined by the city, will not be eligible.

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