Council to give loan program second reading

COLUMBIA CITY — The Columbia City Common Council will hear the second reading of an ordinance creating a special fund that can make money available to local businesses for economic development-type improvements.At tonight’s regular meeting of the council, the ordinance establishing a “Revolving Loan Program” is likely to be one step closer to enactment.Mayor Jim Fleck said last month the city’s redevelopment commission has funds earmarked for economic development.He said that establishing the Revolving Loan Fund will consolidate all the money into one fund to be used by local businesses in the Downtown Columbia City Tax Increment Financing District for loans.Fleck said the RLF is state approved as a fund from which those approved businesses can borrow from, but would have to be repaid.The repayment plan, Fleck said, would ensure the amount (in the fund) will stay the same.Part of the money that will go into the fund includes $100,000 awarded in a state grant to the Columbia City Redevelopment Commission by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. The commission is required to match the grant, the ordinance reads.The loan program will be administered by the commission. The uses will be to “directly stimulate and improve the appearance and structural conditions of downtown buildings by granting low-interest loans for exterior or interior rehabilitation of existing downtown buildings,” according to the ordinance.The loans will be issued with an interest rate of one percent over the U.S. Treasury’s Daily Curve Rate.The council also plans to have a public hearing for the purpose of making additional appropriations as well as discussing suspensions of utility accounts.Another ordinance, which is an amendment to the Pretreatment Ordinance, is scheduled to have its first reading.The council meeting begins tonight at an earlier time of 6:30 p.m.