TRENTON – The Economic Development Authority approved an emergency measure today to make it easier for businesses that were destroyed by Hurricane Irene to receive upfront cash to rebuild while waiting for the insurance money to arrive.
The measure was unanimously passed by the EDA members at the special meeting this afternoon.
The changes to EDA’s Main Street program include an increase in the line of credit from $250,000 to $500,000 for businesses that have insurance, and to have more banks participate in the program, from the current 14 to 44.
“What businesses need most are to build back inventory, buy equipment and fix up their businesses,” said Caren S. Franzini, CEO of the state EDA. “It often takes a long time for the insurance payments to come through. These businesses have been hit so hard we should help out as best we can.”
The measure will also waive fees, such as application, commitment and guarantee fees, potentially saving applicants hundreds if not thousands of dollars, officials said.
The EDA reached out to the Department of Banking and Insurance to set up the temporary changes to the program.
Businesses that don’t have insurance can still apply for the Main Street program, although they can only be eligible for a maximum $250,000 line of credit, as the Main Street program normally offers.
Businesses can apply for the higher credit lines until Dec. 31.
The program changes will go into effect once Gov. Chris Christie approves them, Franzini said.