MERL Loan Applications Now Available Online

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By: 
Michelle Phillips

MIDDLETON– The Middleton Economic Relief Loan (MERL) program, offered to businesses within the Middleton city limits, passed its final hurdle on Thursday when the application became available at the Middleton Area Development Corporation’s (MADC) website. MADC and the city teamed up to offer low interest loans after surveys indicated need and the program made its way through the Middleton Common Council. 

The one-page application is pretty straightforward and at a press conference in front of City Hall last week, Kevin Mahaney, MADC President, said applicants will need to provide the following:

Two years tax returns

Current interim financial statement for 2020

The business owner’s guarantee of repayment.

“Business owners do not find that to be burdensome,” Mahaney said. He added that we now have a better perspective of the impact of COVID-19 and feels the loans are “important to businesses and the local community.”

City Administrator Mike Davis agreed, and said, “I think it’s very much needed, especially now because we know the federal government is having a hard time coming up with another stimulus. As (Alder) Luke Fuszard said in one of our council meetings, this is really a bridge.”

As outdoor options for seating begin to dry up and the holidays near, businesses are concerned about their bottom lines.

“The options for outdoor anything are fewer. Going into the holidays will be tough, that’s their bread and butter,” Davis stated.

The unsecured loans are available for up to $25,000 at one percent interest with up to four years amortization. In addition, there will be no interest on the loans until Jan. 1, 2021. The loan recipients will be confidential.

Mahaney said, “When Mike and I first began talking about this…”

“In March or early April,” Davis added.

“…we were very flexible because we didn’t know what was going to come up,” said Mahaney.

A survey conducted by the City of Middleton just over half of businesses said they were interested in the program. 

Mahaney said he hopes to have the loans funded before Thanksgiving.

“I haven’t heard any negative criticism,” said Davis. “I think people really want local government to come through when state and federal government is in chaos.”

“We’re not aware of any other municipalities that are doing what we’re doing,” added Mahaney.

The MADC and City of Middleton each contributed $100,000 for the program, and both are willing to look at increasing that figure if the program is well received. 

Visit madcwi.com for more information or to complete an application. 

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