Businesses in Highland have a little help they might not realize is actually there — the Town of Lloyd revolving loan fund. While that money has been around for decades, not everyone in town knows about it. Town officials have promoted it with advertisements, a glossy brochure and the town website.
“We really are trying to market our revolving loan,” said Elaine Rivera, Lloyd’s deputy supervisor. “It’s just we don’t have a lot of people who come for it.”
Supervisor Paul Hansut’s administration has continued a focus on business development already present in Highland, but they’ve added some new twists. Recently, they’ve turned the focus on events like concerts and festivals to draw people to the picturesque but often-looked-over hamlet core.
It may seem like the revolving loan fund’s stipulation that borrowers create jobs and revitalize old buildings fits that strategy well, but Hansut said that wasn’t necessarily on purpose. The revolving loan fund is not a big part of his administration’s business plan — especially since it has been around for a long, long time — but the fund is still a good tool for businesses.
They want businesses to use it.
Rivera, who doubles as the town’s assessor, agreed. She’s been on the committee overseeing the loan fund for about a decade.
“It’s always been the focus. In order to be eligible for funds, it has to be, number one, your second means of financing. And you have to create jobs and promote your business,” she said. “So that’s always been our focus, but we’re being a little more open to the loan amounts.”
Traditionally, Lloyd had doled out two forms of loans — a mini loan of $15,000 and the maximum loan of $75,000. In the recent past, that cap has been exceeded and one loan was made out for more than $150,000. “We’ve gone above that depending on the project, because we don’t have a lot of people borrowing money.”
The loan fund overseers did so to help restaurants buy equipment or make repairs. They’ve helped stores build new facades. Most recently, they’ve given loans to help with natural disasters like tropical storms Irene and Lee.
“Mariner’s (on the Hudson) has borrowed money to help them renovate and replace equipment that was lost in the hurricane,” she said. “The last few loans that we’ve given we’ve done at zero percent for the first year to give people the opportunity to pay down the principal. And then starting with the second year of the loan, the interest rates are usually in the area of 3 percent. So it’s low interest.”
Stores that need a loan should expect a pretty standard rigamarole.
“Similar to a bank, we want a business plan. We run a credit check. You know, all that stuff goes into it,” she said. But that money can be used for “anything that they want to do with their business, that maybe through their bank the money’s not available.”
Terms of the loans — like the total funding — also works on a case-by-case basis. It could be a five-year loan or a ten-year loan, depending.