City Officials Set Path to Get Business Relief

Category: Local News
Created on Friday, 20 March 2020 15:48

By SHANNON HAUGLAND
Sentinel Staff Writer
    Plans are in the works to make financial help available for Sitka businesses and nonprofits harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    The money would come from state and federal sources, and although the amounts and other details are not yet known, local officials say they want to be ready to make sure Sitkans get their share.
    “What we’re focusing on with the big stimulus packages is trying to figure out what those are going to look like and how Sitka can take advantage,” said Garry White, director of the Sitka Economic Development Association. “There’s a lot of unknowns and we’re trying to make sure we’re ready when that information does come out to move swiftly.”
    City Administrator John Leach today said he’s working with the congressional delegation, explaining the impact of the pandemic on Sitka’s diverse economy, including fishing, health care, education, small businesses, non-profits, tourism and government services on the economy.
    “The purpose is to get as much federal support as we can,” he said.
    Both White and Rachel Roy, director of Visit Sitka and the Chamber of Commerce, are starting to reach out to businesses to provide information on the financial impact of the virus emergency on their businesses.
    “I’m encouraging businesses to track what it’s doing to their business so when relief money comes or loans and grants are available – if we start now, we will have cumulative information on the impact,” Roy said.
    Robin Sherman, program manager of the Sitka Legacy Foundation, is encouraging non-profits to participate in a statewide survey for the Foraker Group to help determine the impact on non-profits.
    Sherman has already sent out a separate local survey to dozens of organizations to determine impacts on Sitka nonprofits, but knows there are others that are taking losses because of the emergency.
    Sherman said those needing a survey can send an email to sitkalegacy@alaskacf.org, one response per nonprofit. A link is posted on the Sitka Legacy Foundation Facebook page.

Darby Ipock of LFS Marine Supplies, left, hands a bag of boat hardware to Sandi Riggs, that Riggs had phoned in. Businesses in Sitka are incorporating CDC recommendations into their business practices. (Sentinel Photo)

    Roy added, “As we look at what our state needs, what our community needs, there will be better data.”
    Sitka’s state Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins says loans will be available for Alaska businesses through the federal Small Business Administration. Gov. Dunleavy has submitted an Economic Injury Disaster Loan request to the Small Business Administration.
    “The SBA needs to take care of some administrative steps before loan requests can be submitted,” said Kreiss-Tomkins’ aide Kevin McGowan. “We’re hearing that this will take three or four days. That’s not guaranteed — it could take longer — but businesses that want to receive loan relief can start preparing things now.”
    He said a typical application package would include:
    – Completed SBA loan application (SBA Form 5) (this is electronic/online in the portal).
    – Completed and signed Tax Information Authorization (IRS Form 4506-T) for the applicant, principals, and affiliates; each principal owning 20 percent or more of the applicant business, each general partner or managing member; and, for any owner who has more than 50 percent ownership in an affiliate business.
        – Affiliates include business parents, subsidiaries and/or other businesses with common ownership or management Schedule of Liabilities (SBA Form 2202) listing all fixed debts.
    – Personal Financial Statement (SBA Form 413) completed, signed, and dated by the applicant, each principal owning 20 percent or more of the applicant business, and each general partner or managing member.
    – Income, balance sheet, and cash flow documents. If the most recent Federal income tax return hasn’t been filed, a year-end profit-and-loss statement and balance sheet for that tax year.
    – A current year-to-date profit-and-loss statement.
    – Additional Filing Requirements (SBA Form 1368) providing monthly sales figures.
    “I’d recommend reaching out to the folks at Alaska Small Business Development Center for guidance on any of these steps,” McGowan said. “They’re going to have the best, most up-to-speed advice on how to navigate this. I recognize that an SBA loan may not be the best option for everyone, nor will it be the silver bullet many businesses need. As we learn of other forms of assistance we will do our best to keep everyone in the loop.”
    The phone number for the ASBDC is 907-463-3789. McGowan recommended staying up-to-date about opportunities on the website: s://bit.ly/390Tz7j
    Roy also encouraged Sitkans to support local businesses by;
    – ordering take out and delivery from restaurants.
    – writing online reviews about Sitka businesses.
    – patronizing local businesses instead of ordering online.
    “Business is happening it’s just different, it looks different,” Roy said.
    She also noted a few “positives” going on in town, including groups and individuals reaching out to those at higher risk, and offering to shop or help in some other ways.
    But she’s also trying to keep a positive attitude and looking forward to the time when Sitka once again is able to welcome visitors. She noted the release of the visitor guide, used to help attract conventions to Sitka, as well as this week’s announcement by the Royal Caribbean cruise line that they plan to bring 70,000 passengers to Sitka in 2021.
    “I needed that today,” Roy said. She said the pandemic has emphasized the impact that tourism has on the Sitka economy.
    “It’s amazing how this industry is integrated into so much of our community,” she said. “Now it’s going to be felt because we had to stop our tourism.”