I won’t let commerce or democracy die in darkness

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Longtime Yukon and Edward Jones stockbroker/financial planner Bill Martin this week, had one of the best weekly columns I have read in a while and especially during the past three months of all this unpredictability and uncertainty. I have known Bill for almost four years and although we don’t talk to each other very much or see each other a whole lot, I have admired how well he seems to get along with everyone. I like to think of him as one of our staff members and have often referred to him as “My favorite Martin” not to be confused with “My Favorite Martian!”

Anyway. Bill’s weekly column, that is currently on our website, for those of you wanting to read it again, addressed the added flexibility (new provisions) for business owners who have received the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans that were part of the CARES economic stimulus legislation for small business owners that were designed to address COVID-19.

The column begins by explaining how the PPP was designed to help companies with fewer than 500 employees receive loans from banks and lenders, primarily to cover payroll costs and other operating expenses during this recent pandemic crisis. The column explains if businesses met certain conditions, these loans would be forgivable but, went on to explain that some parts of the PPP still proved problematic for business owners who would need to spend 75% of their loan proceeds on payroll within eight weeks of the loan receipt. That requirement provided little flexibility on how the loan proceeds could be used and for some businesses who had been closed because of COVID-19 it may have been tough to deal with other costs such as mortgage payments, rent and utilities.

The column goes on to explain that Congressional just-passed regulation known as the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act (PPPFA) now allows the amount of the loan required to be spent on payroll is reduced from 75% to 60%, freeing up 40% of the loan proceeds for approved operating expenses. Furthermore, the PPPFA extends the period for spending the loans to the earlier of 24 weeks or December 31, 2020.

This flexibility gives business owners additional time to rehire workers and use the loan proceeds toward their salaries, with those amounts still eligible for loan forgiveness. Under the original legislation, to have the loan proceeds fully forgiven, the businesses had to rehire their workers by June 30, even if they weren’t open or operating at full capacity. And even if some businesses still won’t be able to meet the payroll requirement for loan forgiveness-the PPPFA now gives them up to five years to repay the loans. (up from the original version of two years to repay them)

I really enjoyed learning about this new flexibility to the PPP loans that so many of us business owners have received during this pandemic challenge. Edward Jones did a great job with this informative column. I am also very proud of Bill Martin who is truly one of America’s best financial planners located on his hometown’s Main Street! When Bill says, “From Main Street to Wall Street” he really means it!

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Yukon’s Tim Ingram, who is currently the Yukon Chamber of Commerce President did what he thought was correct Wednesday afternoon, when he kicked-out a Yukon Progress reporter from the Yukon Chamber of Commerce office where an emergency special meeting had been called. Ingram apparently thought it was a good idea to not be totally transparent with facts pertaining to an organization that has consistently and constantly sought FREE publicity from the readership audience of Yukon’s only hometown newspaper located within Yukon city limits. (YUKON PROGRESS) On Wednesday afternoon, I had sent our reporter Robert Medley to cover the meeting, just like I have done for the past 30 years, just to make sure our Chamber, which receives $30,000 per year in public tax money from City Hall, continues to grow and prosper as our City faces many challenges caused by this pandemic and the number of new businesses that are opening on the south side of 10th street in OKC. I was merely under the assumption that the meeting could be construed as a public meeting due to the taxpayer funding the Chamber receives. I have requested the State’s Attorney General’s opinion.

Ingram, who relished in the photo opportunities he received early this year when his business was named business of the year, did not seek our reporter’s camera this time and said the Chamber office might have a comment on Thursday regarding the meeting as he scurried to lock the door.

Ingram and the Chamber board, many of my customers and friends, have been told not to discuss this meeting or issue with the media. I am very familiar with that type of response and have dealt with it for most of my professional career. Our Yukon Chamber of Commerce currently has $350,000-$380,000 in several bank accounts and is doing great! Our current Executive Director Pam Shelton and her husband Jerry are longtime friends. I was in college when Jerry was Mayor and I have given Pam thousands of dollars to help with the annual banquets.

With what I know, I would hire Pam and Jerry TODAY to sell advertising for my Canadian County newspapers if they wanted or needed to go to work to earn money to pay the bills.
I am proud of my community, my city hall and my chamber of commerce board of directors and it is with sincere hopes we can get through this challenge. I don’t have a problem with anyone, but I do publish newspapers folks and I will be damned if I let commerce or democracy die in darkness.

The Yukon Progress will bring you the entire story once we get to the bottom of it, confirm it and get our sources on the record. If that doesn’t sit well with anyone then don’t read it.
Thanks so much for reading. I will see you next Saturday. Would you like a Progress?

Yukon Progress Publisher Randy K. Anderson can be reached at (405) 517-5168 or Randyk.anderson@sbcglobal.net