Local small businesses voice frustration in getting financial help
WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Help for small businesses from the federal government is challenging to get. Owners are waiting, banks are swamped, and lawmakers are looking for solutions.
Small businesses are in need of help to weather the storm brought on by COVID-19.
"I want my distributors to be paid. State's got to be paid. My rent's got to be paid. Nothing's getting paid right now," said Robert Dalton, owner of The Paddock Club in Watertown.
Dalton applied for federal aid. He now waits to see when he will get the money to stay in business.
"We are pushing the SBA to process these loans as quickly as possible," said north country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R. - 21st District).
That's the problem, businesses aren't getting fast money. The money is from two programs - the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Emergency Advance.
Both are part of the $2 trillion stimulus package passed by Congress.
It was promised businesses would receive funds days after applying, but that hasn't happened.
Banks are swamped with so many applications.
"The demand and the need. The interest. The urgency is just unprecedented," said Jeff Boyce, Small Business Administration branch manager.
The SBA says more then 400,000 loans have been approved so far totaling $100 billion in funding.
"I remain hopeful that those funds will begin to be dispersed this week. But again that is the most immediate source of assistance, so that's the idle emergency advance," said Boyce.
Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce offers a place to get answers.
"It is not unwarranted, the frustration you're feeling, and I think it's really important know more than ever to talk through those feelings and frustrations with those resources that are available," said chamber President & CEO Kylie Peck.
But for now, Dalton is not holding his breath.
"I'm just very understandable about it; it's going to take time," he said.
Stefanik says Congress is negotiating another $250 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program.
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