County IDA discusses new loan program

The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency is providing details about its new $10.5 million revolving loan fund for industries affected by the pandemic.

During Tuesday’s IDA’s meeting, board members officially accepted the revolving loan fund from the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration. The announcement was made earlier this month when Anthony Foti, U.S. Department of Commerce intergovernmental affairs director, visited the county.

County IDA Chief Executive Officer Mark Geise noted that the grant is available for nearly every type of business. “This is for all sectors, other than housing, and (is) also for not-for-profits,” he said.

The county must lend the money over the next two years to those impacted by COVID-19.

Geise noted applicants are required to demonstrate how the funding addresses a challenge created by the pandemic; how the funding will retain or create jobs; and how the funding will leverage other private or public capital.

One of the loan requirements is that for every $35,000, the borrower needs to retain or create one job.

Anything above $500,000, applicants must show they are creating one job per $35,000 borrowed. “So if somebody’s going to ask for a million dollars, they need to show that they are retaining 15 jobs and creating at least 15 jobs,” Geise said.

The IDA is also establishing budgets per sector. Right now, $3.5 million will be for the manufacturing/warehousing sector; $2 million will be for tourism; $750,000 will be for retail commercial/agri-business; $500,000 will be for small business working capital; $450,000 will be for non-profits; and $2.8 million will be for state-levied special projects. Geise said the categories could be adjusted if necessary.

He also said the funds will be given out in rounds, so there’s not a mad rush to loan out all the money at once.

The first round will be given out in October. The second round is set for January and the third round is set for April.

“We’ve got a timeline set up for ourselves of when everything needs to occur in order for these applications to come to the boards on those dates,” he said.

The loan committee is also expected to look at special considerations for projects that offer benefits to minorities, women, and long-term unemployed.

“Loans will only be used for purposes which directly result in private job retention and creation and which contribute to the economic development or stabilization of the county,” Geise said.

He added they have already received applications.

County IDA board members praised Geise and his staff for landing the funds from the federal government. The U.S. Department of Commerce awarded $19 million for all of Western New York and Chautauqua County received $10,505,067, which is more than half of the amount available. “It’s incredible that we have $10.5 million and Niagara County had $700,000, so that shows the extreme good work and excellent management of our loan fund, to be able to receive this large of a dollar amount,” said IDA Chairman Michael Metzger.


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