City Council votes to forgive COVID small business loans

Laney Griffo

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The South Lake Tahoe City Council on Tuesday morning voted to forgive the 53 small business loans that were given to businesses during the pandemic.

The loans were given to local businesses in amounts of $5,000, $10,000 and $15,000 and were decided by the short-term economic recovery subcommittee.

The city stood to collect $382,500 from the no-interest loans over seven years. Staff recommended forgiving the loans, stating that staff time wouldn’t be worth the amount the city could get back, especially if the city wasn’t going to make extra money.

Councilmembers John Friedrich and Cody Bass were strongly in favor of forgiveness and Mayor Pro Tem Cristi Creegan expressed concern about the staff time.

However, Mayor Devin Middlebrook was not in favor of forgiveness, echoing a comment made by resident Ed Mosur turning public comment.

“More businesses would’ve applied if they thought it would’ve been forgiven,” Middlebook said.

Despite Middlebrook’s concerns, the council voted 3-1 in favor of forgiveness. Councilmember Tamara Wallace was absent from the meeting.

Friedrich put forth a challenge to the businesses to use the money they would’ve had to repay to donate back into local nonprofits.

Bass supported Friedrich’s idea, stating, “people who could pay it back should pay it forward.”

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