The Daily Tar Heel

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Saturday September 18th

Carrboro Town Council discusses local measures to address COVID-19 pandemic

<p>(From left) Town Council Members Damon Seils, Sammy Slade, Randee Haven-O'Donnell and Barbara Foushee and Mayor Lydia Lavelle listen to an ENO Arts Mill proposal in West Hillsborough on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 at the Carrboro Town Hall.&nbsp;</p>
Buy Photos Katie Murray, Orange County's Arts Commission Director, spoke on behalf of the project, urging the Council to help create "a stronger local arts agency, physical space and increased accessibility to the arts" for Orange County's community of artists.

The Carrboro Town Council discussed a loan program to support local businesses and nonprofits in response to the COVID-19 pandemic at a meeting on Tuesday. 

The meeting was held virtually, and Mayor Lydia Lavelle said the Town is looking into ways for citizens to make public comments in this setting.

Helping small business and nonprofits

The majority of the meeting’s time was spent focusing on approving a short-term loan and grant program for small businesses and nonprofits in Carrboro. The program proposes loans at a maximum of $25,000 for applicants at zero interest. Orange County is launching a similar program.

One of the concerns brought up from council members such as Damon Seils was a desire to ensure that funds from the loan program were used primarily to meet payroll expenses to prevent layoffs. Seils said many people in Carrboro have already been laid off from jobs.

The program will be funded by an existing revolving loan fund the Town has, which Seils said has been underutilized in the past.

Council member Barbara Foushee said she wanted to make sure the process for obtaining loans is equitable. She said the group that will decide who receives the loans should be diverse, and no business should be excluded from finding out about the loans.

“These decisions about the applications cannot be made, cannot move forward until we have this representation at the table because it’ll level the playing field for everyone,” Foushee said

Emergency protocol

Carrboro Fire Chief Dave Schmidt presented a review of Carrboro’s emergency protocols and the divisions responsible for handling certain aspects of emergencies in the town.

Schmidt said his department is working on contingency plans for the shortage of personal protective equipment that is affecting emergency and health care workers across the country during the crisis.

Lavelle said she recommended all Carrboro residents stay at home if they are able to ahead of a county-wide stay-at-home order going into effect on Friday

“Each city and town is a little unique, each county is a little unique, and we want to make sure that if and when we do issue some kind of county-wide stay at home order, it’s done right and it doesn’t cause confusion,” Lavelle said.

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