SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The South Lake Tahoe City Council voted Tuesday morning to cancel all 53 small business loans that have been issued to businesses during the pandemic.
The loans were given to local businesses for amounts of $5,000, $10,000 and $15,000 and were decided by the short-term economic stimulus sub-committee.
The city was to collect $382,500 in interest-free loans over seven years. The staff recommended canceling the loans, stating that the staff’s time would not be worth the amount the city could recover, especially if the city was not going to make any additional money.
Council members John Friedrich and Cody Bass were strongly in favor of the pardon, and Pro Tem Mayor Cristi Creegan expressed concern about staff time.
However, Mayor Devin Middlebrook was not in favor of the pardon, echoing a comment made by resident Ed Mosur while making public comments.
“More companies would have applied if they thought it would have been forgiven,” Middlebook said.
Despite Middlebrook’s concerns, the board voted 3-1 in favor of a pardon. Councilor Tamara Wallace was absent from the meeting.
Friedrich challenged businesses to use the money they should have refunded to give back to local nonprofits.
Bass supported Friedrich’s idea, stating that “people who could pay it back should pay it forward.”