By Deb Hadachek
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Republic County has been praised by state officials for its quick work to distribute no-interest loans to businesses affected by CV19.
Republic County Development secretary Kay Shoemaker said 11 businesses have already qualified for $20,000 no-interest loans to help meet payroll and other vital functions.
“I have at least three more applications to be approved,” she told Republic County Commissioners Monday.
The aid to businesses became possible last week when the Kansas Department of Commerce released $411,000 in restricted funds in the Republic County Revolving Loan Fund. Because of stringent qualifications, the money was difficult to loan to local business projects, said Mikel Hadachek, RCD committee member.
With the CV19 virus affecting local businesses, KDOC called 37 counties that had money sitting in revolving funds and said “clear the fund”. Counties were encouraged to devise simple, quick plans to get the money into the hands of businesses.
The RCD board and Shoemaker reacted quickly to set up guidelines, devise an application, and give swift approval to qualified applicants. That plan was approved by Republic County Commissioners Monday, and within three days loans approved for the first 11 applicants. Up to 20 loans can be made with the funds that are available.
Qualified businesses will receive a first installment of $10,000, and the second installment when they submit supporting documentation of how the money was used.
“We want to try to help the most businesses possible,” said Hadachek. Businesses have three years to repay the loan, with no payment required for the first four months.
Hadachek told commissioners this week that KDOC is showcasing the Republic County response to the other 36 counties with money to lend.
Shoemaker gave the credit to local committee members, banks and the news media for getting the word out quickly to affected businesses.
But Hadachek said that Shoemaker deserves much of the credit for working through last weekend to help prepare the paperwork for the RCD to have a plan ready to launch.
Shoemaker deflected the compliment, but said her employer, Jim McDonald at Scott Specialties in Belleville, should be recognized for his support of her time to assist the local economic fund.
The RCD maintains revolving loan funds that normally provide a qualifying new or existing business in Republic County low-interest loans to expand services. The KDOC fund was established in 1985 when the county received grants to loan to three large businesses for expansion projects. As that money was repaid, it was loaned to other businesses.
Since that time, more than 100 businesses have received more than $3.5 million in loans from the fund. Over 260 jobs have been created through this process.
Republic County Economic Development (RCED) is incredibly proud of the response from the RCD Revolving Loan Committee and Secretary Kay Shoemaker. Not many counties have three revolving loan pools available. Without their work with KDOC and CDBG our county would definitely see more businesses shut down and jobs lost due to COVID-19. RCED has assisted with marketing this loan application with RCD, local bankers and community leaders. When these funds run out we will continue to help businesses find other loan programs and resources from local, state, and federal partners.– Luke Mahin, RCED Director.
COVID-19 – CDBG Revolving Loan Fund Information – www.republiccountykansas.com/covid-19-CDBG/
Additional Business Programs & Resources – www.republiccountykansas.com/covid-19-business/
Republic County business changes – www.republiccountykansas.com/covid-19/
COVID-19 Volunteer Program – www.bellevilleks.org/covid-19-volunteer.html