SBA issues disaster declaration for SWFL businesses affected by algae, red tide

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The Capitol is seen in Washington, Monday, July 31, 2017. Most Senate Democrats and independents said Aug. 1, that upcoming legislation to rewrite the tax code should make sure the middle class doesn’t pay more. They won’t support any upcoming GOP effort to overhaul the U.S. tax code that delivers tax cuts to “the top 1 percent” or adds to the government’s $20 trillion debt. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

A disaster declaration was issued for red tide and algal blooms plaguing Southwest Florida waterways, according to a statement from Gov. Rick Scott.

The U.S. Small Business Administration issued the declarations, according to the statement. The declaration for the blue-green algal blooms refers the releases from Lake Okeechobee as the cause.

Small businesses affected by the water crisis can apply for low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans from the SBA, according to the statement.

Those interested in more information the disaster declaration referring to the algal blooms or red tide can visit the Lee County office, opening at 11 a.m. Friday.

The application is open to all counties across Southwest Florida, with possible loans up to $2 million with 3.6 percent interest.

The regular hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the City/County Annex on 1825 Hendry St. in Fort Myers.

Applicants may apply online at SBA Customer Service Representatives will also be available at Disaster Loan Outreach Centers to answer questions about the disaster loan program and help individuals complete their applications. Centers are located in Lee, Manatee, Sarasota and Martin counties. Applications and program information are available by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955.

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