Thursday September 25, 2003
Mayor Jerry Abramson today announced that Louisville Metro Government is offering low-interest loans to small businesses to help improve accessibility for handicapped people in the community.
The Accessibility Loan Program – offered through the Metro Development Authority – will provide loans of up to $5,000 to commercial property owners that are trying to improve handicapped accessibility at their businesses. A fixed interest rate of 3 percent will be charged over four years for the loans.
A loan pool of $100,000 has been established for the first year of the program, Abramson announced today.
“This program will make it easier for smaller businesses to be more accessible to all the citizens in our hometown,” Abramson said. “Small businesses – particularly those located in older buildings – struggle with the cost of improving accessibility. This program represents one important way we’re trying to be more responsive to the needs of business and the needs of disabled people in our community.”
For example, a commercial property owner who borrowed $5,000 at 3 percent interest for four years would have a monthly payment of $110.67 a month.
The Minority and Small Business Development division, located in the Metro Development Authority, will work with businesses applying for the loans. If the loan is approved, money can be available within 30 days. A loan board meets once a month to approve applications.
The mayor’s Office for Aging and Disabled also will work with applicants on any permitting and licensing issues businesses may face in making building changes.
The Metro Development Authority is promoting the loan program in conjunction with federal tax incentives and credits that are available to small businesses.
A federal tax credit of up to $5,000 is available to businesses with fewer than 30 employees and revenues of $1 million or less to help with expenditures related to improving accessibility. In addition, a federal tax deduction of up to $15,000 per year is also available for renovations that help improve accessibility, such as the removal of architectural barriers.
The credit and the deduction can be combined under the Federal Tax Code. For example, if a business is making $20,000 in access improvements – such as ramps, widening of doors or restroom improvements – the cost of those improvements can be covered under tax credits and deductions being offered.
A letter from Abramson and a brochure explaining the loan program and federal tax credits and deductions is being distributed this week to small business association and owners.
“We hope to encourage eligible businesses and property owners to take advantage of this program,” Abramson said. “We have more work to be as accessible to everyone in this community as possible, but the loan accessibility program represents an important step in the right direction.”