EDA has to shut down revolving loan fund

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 December 2018 at 4:02 pm

Agency pushes to get out final loans before March 31 deadline

New York State is closing the revolving loan funds administered by local development corporations, including one through the Orleans Economic Development Agency.

The economic development agencies throughout the state have until March 31 to approve funding through the accounts.

The Orleans EDA has approved many loans for small businesses the past 17 years since the fund was created. The state first approved $320,000 for the Orleans EDA to loan to small businesses in 2001.

Jim Whipple, the EDA chief executive officer, said the agency has a great record of repayment. The loans are offered at 75 percent of the lowest prime rate. They go to new small businesses that would typically have a hard time getting financing from a bank.

“We’re hoping the state comes up with another of doing these,” Whipple said today. “Ours has been very successful. It is very helpful to start-up businesses.”

The EDA would only makes loans available to business owners who completed a Microenterprise Assistance Program that offers advice and expertise for running a small business. About 500 people have completed MAP the past 20 years.

Three recent graduates have the local OK for loans through the revolving loan fund. That includes $35,000 for Heather Collella, who operates DC hauling; $40,000 to Richard T. Gallo Sr., who operates Gallo’s Hauling; and $15,000 for Bonnie Heck, owner of Herbalty Cottage in Medina.

Those loans were approved by the County Legislature last week and need state approval for a final OK.

The County Legislature last week agreed to have the county administer the fund’s repayments and income in the future.

Whipple said additional loans may be approved before March 31.

He is optimistic the program will return through the Orleans EDA.

“We’re going to be out of the loan business, but we will be back,” Whipple said. “I guarantee it.”

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