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Scott: $20 million to be distributed to businesses for flood recoery

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(The Center Square) – Emergency gap funding for Vermont businesses impacted by recent flooding will soon be available.

The Agency of Commerce and Community Development is making $20 million available through the Business Emergency Gap Assistance Program to 40 Vermont towns there were negatively impacted by severe flooding, Republican Gov. Phil Scott said. The funding is part of multiple initiatives designed to give financial help to towns and businesses during recovery.

“Hundreds of Vermont businesses have been impacted by severe flooding, and for many, loans will not be enough” Scott said in a statement. “That’s why I’ve instructed my team to get creative about how the state can provide direct financial assistance, quickly, to help employers get back on their feet. Although this $20 million commitment is significant, we know it will not meet the need.”

According to a release, the program will be run through the Department of Economic Development and will funding will be in the form of grants distributed to impacted businesses and nonprofit organizations.

The program, according to a release, is currently in development, and details will be released next week.

According to a release, grants to business owners will be distributed to those who demonstrate losses to physical space and replace inventory, machinery, equipment, and supplies.

“This program is intended to provide emergency gap funding to businesses so they can return to being the economic engines of their local communities,” agency Secretary Lindsay Kurrle said in a statement. “We understand the urgent and pressing need for financial support, and while this funding will not make them whole, we hope it will make a substantial impact in helping them bringing back their employees and opening their doors.”

According to a release, the Agency of Commerce and Community Development next week will provide an update to businesses on the specifics of the program, including eligibility and the application process.

The agency is urging, according to a release, all businesses impacted by flooding to collect, document, and prepare photos of damage, insurance adjuster damage assessments, estimates for repairs to buildings, equipment, inventory, or purchasing supplies and expenses.

Additionally, $11 million in state payments to those 40 towns will be accelerated by the Treasurer’s Office. The payments were originally to be disturbed later this year, but funds are now being fast-tracked to help recovery efforts while awaiting Federal Emergency Management Agency relief funding.

Plus, the Treasurer’s Office said it will pause an $85 million program that would provide local investments for economic development. The treasurer is also working with the Scott administration to determine whether funding would be better used to address flood response.

“This recovery process will take time, but right now, we need to help municipalities with access to funding and get our small businesses back open who are the backbone of our communities,” Scott said in a statement.

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