Fisher Island residents say no to accepting $2 million small business loan

Homeowners’ association applied and was approved for federal PPP loan

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – Fisher Island’s homeowners association applied and was approved for a $2 million federal loan, part of the US Paycheck Protection Plan. Fisher Island is one of the wealthiest zip codes in the country.

The money from the federal government is earmarked to help support small businesses impacted by the pandemic.

Many of the residents of the island, only accessible by ferry, were stunned when they received the email from the Fisher Island Community Association, the Master Homeowners’ Association of Fisher Island, mentioning the possibility of the island getting the money. The association, on its website states its “primary responsibility is to manage, maintain and improve the common areas of Fisher Island.”

The board asked residents to weigh in on accepting the money now that the association has received approval.

On Friday evening, many residents joined in on a call for a virtual meeting to discuss the possibility of accepting the loan. Many were upset that they even went for the loan in the first place. Some members of the board said it was easy money. In the end, they decided to not accept the money.

Matt Barnes, an entrepreneur who is a resident of Fisher Island, questioned the need for the loan.

“What are we getting $2 million for and why are we applying for $2 million?” Barnes said. “There are small businesses in this country right now that need money and we need to make sure that they get the money as quickly as possible. I don’t think Fisher Island needs $2 million,” Barnes said.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said he’s been pushing for smaller businesses in Miami to have easier access to the second round of federal dollars going out. There are countless stories from small business owners who’ve been denied funding or delayed.

The argument across the country is that the government isn’t looking closely and hasn’t been factoring in the financial state of a business while doling out the funds. Many are concerned that big businesses have been benefiting the most.

It isn’t the first time Fisher Island has been mentioned during the COVID-19 crisis. In the middle of April, Fisher Island gained attention after buying antibody tests from the University of Miami Health System for all of its residents and staff. Miami-Dade County Superintendent of Schools mentioned the testing on his Twitter account on April 13, 2020.

About the Authors:

Andrew Perez is a South Florida native who joined the Local 10 News team in May 2014.

Michelle F. Solomon is the podcast producer/reporter/host of Local 10's original, true crime podcast The Florida Files and a digital journalist for Local She has a bachelor's degree from Emerson College, Boston, and a master's degree from SUNY-Empire State.