McLean County Board extends helping hand to suffering small businesses, taxpayers

Meantime, the county board unanimously agreed to a two-week delay in the due date for landowners to pay their first installment on their property tax bill. (Photo courtesy: HOI)

By Heart of Illinois ABC

BLOOMINGTON – Owners of small businesses in McLean County, struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic are receiving some relief in the form of low-interest loans, while landowners in the county will have more time to pay their property taxes after elected leaders took action Tuesday night.

The McLean County Board voted unanimously to shift $600,000 from what officials said was an under-utilized loan program to a pair of recovery loan funds.

The board voted unanimously to support member Laurie Wollrab’s amendment to make it easier for businesses to receiving the financial help by eliminating a requirement that they also apply for state and federal government assistance.

Wollrab, a Democrat, said that requirement was an “unnecessary hurdle.”

“It is far more important that we get these funds in the hands of our smallest businesses just as soon as possible in hopes that some of them will actually survive,” Wollrab said.

Her amendment won the praise of one of the most conservative county board members, Republican Chuck Erickson.

“It is my hope we exhaust these funds in their entirety,” Erickson said.

“I think it would be a great boost for our small business men and women in our community,” Erickson added.

Democrat George Gordon said businesses need the money as fast as possible.

“Some of these small businesses may not be around to even receive the funds if too much time is allowed to go by,” said Gordon.

“The fewer hoops to jump through, the better,” Gordon added.

The Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council will administer the programs, which will loan some businesses $5000, to be repaid next year with an interest of one percent, and up to $20,000 loans to other businesses, also with one percent interest to be paid back next year.

Meantime, the county board unanimously agreed to a two-week delay in the due date for landowners to pay their first installment on their property tax bill.

The due date is now June 17, and the board also decided taxpayers do not have to pay penalties or interest if they make their payments by mid-July.

Heart of Illinois ABC can be reached at [email protected]


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