Councilors and Town Manager Barry Tibbetts met virtually over Zoom on Tuesday night. Screenshot

WINDHAM — Town councilors have unanimously approved a $150,000 loan program to help businesses affected by COVID-19.

The loan program “is a way to reach out and attempt to help businesses because they’re suffering in Windham and every little bit helps,” Council Chairman Jarrod Maxfield said Wednesday.

“At the end of the day $150,000 isn’t a large number, but the program is hopefully tailored to find businesses that this will be impactful for,” Council Chairman Jarrod Maxfield said Wednesday.

The Windham Economic Development Corporation COVID-19 Disaster Business Loan Fund uses $50,000 from the WEDC as well as an additional $100,000 from a town fund for tax breaks for developers. Both sources of funding are from the current fiscal year and do not affect next year’s budget.

Town Manager Barry Tibbetts could not be reached for comment on Wednesday. 

The WEDC is offering two loans: a “Business Continuation Loan” and a “Business Restart Loan.”

The continuation loan is intended for businesses that have continued to operate during government-mandated shut-downs, such as restaurants that have had to shut down dining rooms but are still providing take-out or delivery services, said WEDC Executive Director Tom Bartell. 

The restart loan is for companies that have had to shut down their operations completely during the COVID-19 pandemic, but are committed to reopening once the emergency order mandates are lifted. 

Minimum and maximum loan amounts have not yet been set, but the WEDC expects the loans will range from $5,000 to $20,000.

Applications are available now and can be submitted Monday, April 20, through May 1. More information is available on the town’s website. 

New council appointment

The council Tuesday also approved the appointment of Brett Jones to the East Division seat left vacant when Rebecca Cummings resigned in February.

The council voted 5-4 in favor of Jones’ appointment, with Councilor Clayton Haskell voting against it. 

Jones

Councilors conducted interviews with three candidates earlier this month. One candidate dropped out before decisions were made. 

“I’m excited to bring him on board and fill the seat. … His past experience has shown him to be an honest and straight-forward person,” said Chair Maxfield.

Jones, a captain in the Old Orchard Beach Fire Department, was appointed to the council before. In February 2017 he was sworn in to the seat that was left vacant for almost a year following Councilor Tommy Gleason’s death in 2016. When the term expired in November 2017, he ran to keep the seat, but was defeated by Haskell.

Cummings resigned suddenly from the council in protest of an expected approval of an ordinance allowing recreational marijuana stores in town.

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