By Ben Rodgers
HOWARD – The Howard Community Development Authority helped two local businesses with low interest loans at its last meeting.
The CDA has a revolving loan fund that originated with federal grant dollars. Originally those funds went from the federal government, to the state, to Howard, which distributed them to businesses.
Once those low interest loans were paid back, the village got to keep the funds, as long as they were used for helping businesses which meet certain criteria.
The main criteria is job creation.
“For each job they create they can get so much money loaned to them, and right now it’s $35,000 for each new job created,” said Chris Haltom, CDA treasurer and director of administrative services for the village.
On Dec. 13 the largest loan awarded was for $175,000 for Fusion Integrated Solutions, an engineering firm that specializes in the paper industry.
Fusion works with companies like Georgia Pacific and Marinette Marine to make their machines more efficient.
The loan will primarily be used for updating their systems, which rely on 3D modeling.
The company is also looking to add five jobs with the upgrades.
“We’ve issued two loans to them in the past,” Haltom said. “One they paid off early and the other they’re still paying on. They are a pretty good company we feel very confident in.”
Fusion will have roughly 10 years to pay back the loan.
The other loan issued was for Custom Laminating Specialists and was for $60,000.
A longtime employee of the company is looking to buy out the old owner who is retiring. The $60,000 will serve as gap financing to complete the transaction.
Custom Laminating Specialists mostly does commercial work for businesses, specializing in any type of cabinets or lamination they would desire.
The company is looking to create three new jobs and will have 12 years to pay the loan back.
Any businesses interested in applying for the revolving loan fund can pick up an application at the village office.
Part of the application requires providing financial information that will not be made public.
In other news the CDA discussed a lease agreement for the Howard Commons Apartments between the village and the CDA.
“When we were going through the bonding for the apartment complex the attorneys we were working with recommended that we have the CDA be the owners of the building and the property, and they just lease that back to the village to operate the facilities,” Haltom said.
The lease agreement did not get approved as Paul Evert, village administrator wanted to change some language in the document.
It will be discussed again the next time the CDA meets in March or April of next year.