Arcata City Council approves guidelines for new job retention loan program for local businesses

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ARCATA, Calif. (KIEM) — The Arcata City Council approves guidelines for a new job retention loan program to assist businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.

For every full time employee a business can keep on staff, they are eligible to borrow up to $35,000 from the City of Arcata. According to Community Development Director, David Loya, there is another requirement.

“Half of those employees need to be low-income, 80% area median income or less,” Loya says.

The money comes from community development block grants the city received back in 2017 with $288,000 available. It’s meant to go towards operational costs, personal protective equipment, or other things necessary for a business to operate safely and in compliance with Covid-19 restrictions. If the business is able to retain the employee for 6 months, the loan is converted to a grant with no money owed to the city.

“We’ve realized that businesses just can’t take on additional debt at this point. It’s critical to retain these businesses. I mean, they provide valuable services to our citizens, they provide the jobs that residents rely on,” Loya says.

The state does have to certify approval for the use of funds for the program. Loya anticipates that will happen in the next week or two. The city hopes to begin accepting applications from businesses in the next couple of weeks.