The Greene County Economic Development Authority (EDA) has been working for the past month on the verbiage of its revolving loan (also called the small business loan) and its step loan (also known as site-readiness loan) programs. Additionally, the board has decided to look into whether it should facilitate bonding for organizations outside of Greene County.
At both the EDA worksession on Saturday, Jan. 11 and regular meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 21, the board went through the loan options in-depth.
“The old verbiage on the revolving loan reflected a lot of work for Alan (Yost’s) team and reflected a lot of old titles that no longer exist, like executive director,” said Michael Payne, EDA chair.
The step loan, or as Yost suggested calling it a site-readiness loan, outlines the minimum and maximum loan amounts per step up and what is required to be shared with the board prior to approval.
“Step three was increased to $100,000 based on Alan’s assessment of what it would take to get a step three site in play,” Payne said. “And really, that focuses on something that I hadn’t thought of, which is cultural sensitivity. What happens if you run into the graveyard on your property? So, again, we want to see contracts. This is an imminent strategy, you are moving forward. This is no longer speculative.”
The changes to the revolving loan documents include the creation of a three-person loan review committee.
“Originally, it was the loan committee got to make a determination up to $10,000,” Payne said. “We discussed that we want the full board to approve any monies.”
Matt Dillon asked whether the document required the committee to be unanimous in a loan’s merits before it reached the full board.
“I think it could be a majority because it has to go through another level of approval. Everything else we do is majority,” said Gretchen Scheuermann.
Payne said the goal of the exercise is to formalize the process for now and the future. The maximum outstanding fund balance for the revolving loan will be $100,000 across no more than five businesses.
“We’ve had things in play but we haven’t been as good about the formality of them,” Payne said. “So, that is what we’re trying to do.”
Payne asked the EDA directors their thoughts on assisting organizations with gaining funds through bonding.
“We’ve now done two of those and I think we’re more comfortable as an organization and I hope individually with doing that,” he said. “We know that they’re passed through notes that we’re not held liable for them. There is a market. You know, obviously we give preference to our county government if the county needed to borrow money, but there is a market of organizations who are looking for this. And if we can charge an eighth of a percent on $2 million, you know, that’s money that could fund some of these other initiatives that we don’t have to ask for as line item budget.”
Yost said the EDA can, per state statute, do the bonding for any nonprofit agency that is bettering the community in some way—and it doesn’t have to be in Greene County.
“I think the key is that we need to sit down with Daniel (Lauro) to make sure that … we have our ducks in a row,” Yost said. Lauro is a bonding attorney the county and EDA have used in the past for the financing of the water supply and treatment plan, formerly called White Run Reservoir Project.
Yost added that not only do the EDA members not hold liability, but neither does the county nor the taxpayers.
“It is strictly between the borrower and the lender,” Yost said.
“It’s tough to turn down with no liability,” Dillon said.
Payne asked Yost to invite Lauro to present at the next EDA meeting.
The EDA was not able to vote on either loan document on Jan. 21 due to additional changes that need to be made, but is expected to at its next meeting on March 17.