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Palo Alto County Supervisors Approve Funding Proposals

By Staff | Apr 24, 2008

Palo Alto County Supervisors stepped up to the plate on Tuesday to support a new revolving loan fund for the Palo Alto County Economic Development Corporation (PACEDC) following a request by the organization. The action came following a request to the supervisors during their weekly meeting at the Palo Alto County Courthouse.

Kris Ausborn, President of PACEDC, explained that the group had received a grant of $75,000 from the Palo Alto County Gaming Development Committee earlier this year, with the purpose of establishing a revolving loan fund to assist business development.

“What we want to do is establish this fund to serve as a means for gap financing to provide for small business development,” Ausborn told the board. “We are not going to be the primary source of funding for a business, but rather the gap funding. If a person has obtained $90,000 in financing to start up and they need $95,000, and they met the requirements, we would loan the $5,000 to make up the difference.”

According to Ausborn, PACEDC had a goal of establishing a base fund of $115,000 to $125,000 for the Revolving Loan Fund, and had approached the various communities in the county, as well as the seven financial institutions with offices in the county, for contributions. Additionally, the group plans to apply to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for up to $70,000 of funding through a competitive application process, which could potentially give the PACEDC Revolving Loan Fund a balance of $185 to $200,000.

“This fund would be self-perpetuating,” Ausborn explained. “With a maximum loan amount of $50,000 over a 10 year maximum period, and interest would be two percent below the prime rate. Each loan application would be reviewed by a five-member committee consisting of a banker, accountant, member of the Board of Supervisors, PAEDC board member and an at-large member.

Ausborn added that Supervisor Ed Noonan had agreed to serve on the review committee, along with Ed Burdorf, Greg Blair and Mike Reynolds, as well as himself.

“We do not intend for this to be the primary source of funding for anyone,” Ausborn reiterated. “People will have to have their primary funding from other sources. Applicants will also have to meet with Maureen (Elbert) our Executive Director, and provide the standard documentation, such as their business plan, etc.

“This isn’t going to be a giveaway program like it’s been in the past,” observed Supervisor Jerry Hofstad, as other board members agreed.

Ausborn then asked for the board to consider supporting the fund, with a contribution of $3 per citizen in the county, for a total of $30,441. “So far, Emmetsburg has committed to fund the fund and the City of West Bend has indicated they will do some type of funding,” Ausborn noted. “And two banks have made contributions and one has pledged support to the fund so far.

“I’d move to support the revolving loan fund at the $30,441 amount,” offered Hofstad, with Ed Noonan quickly seconding the motion. The board gave unanimous approval to the motion to bring the discussion to a close.

In other business, the supervisors approved three conditional use permits for livestock confinements in the county. All three sites met the provisions of the Master Matrix, according to Palo Alto County Zoning Administrator Joe Neary, as well as the county’s Good Neighbor Policy.

“The Planning and Zoning Commission met on Monday, April 21, and recommended the approval of the permit applications for all three locations,” Neary noted.

The first permit was granted to Mike Myers for a 102’x397′ building with deep pit manure storage in the Northeast quarter of Section 20 of Rush Lake Township. A permit was also approved for John Woodford to build a 102×397′ confinement with deep pit manure storage in the Southeast quarter of Section 28 of Rush Lake Township. Both permits were approved unanimously.

The third permit, for Summit Farms, LLC, to build a 51’x353′ building with deep pit manure storage in the southeast quarter of Section 33 of Nevada Township, was approved on a 3-1 vote, with Supervisor Jerry Hofstad voting against the permit, and Supervisor Ron Graettinger absent.

The board also held a telephone conference with the Pocahontas County Board of Supervisors and set 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, May 8, at the Pocahontas County Courthouse for a bid opening on repairs to Joint Drainage Districts 63 and 77. Both districts were damaged in flooding last year and will be repaired with financial assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State. Supervisors set a bid opening for a FEMA repair project on DD175 at 1 p.m. on May 8.