by ADAM GRUENEWALD
As members of the NYA Economic Development Commission, NYA Council members expressed interest in entering a program to increase participation in the city’s loan programs at their most recent meeting on Monday, Feb. 24.
The EDC currently has two loans, one with a $5,000 maximum for commercial rehabilitation and the other, of varying amounts, for larger projects including land acquisition, building acquisition and equipment purchases.
According to Economic Development Coordinator Christie Rock Hantge, the city has not approved any loans from either of those programs in the past seven years but did close on seven loans in 2011 and five loans in 2012 through a forgivable loan program.
Hoping to revitalize the loan program, NYA could benefit from Carver County Community Development Agency entering into a partnership with Minneapolis-based Metropolitan Consortium of the Community Developers (MCCD).
MCCD Director of Finance Lee Hall explained the non-profit, which also does direct and combined lending with other institutions, could work with the City of NYA to assist in generating loans with a shared percentage of the financial backing.
“We can provide the structure and sort of the back room services and the underwriting,” he said, adding they have payment receiving services as well. “We have the loan administration staff, we have the loan services software, we have the process for underwriting the loans and we have committee for review.”
Of the about $5 million in their portfolio, $3 million is from their own funds and about $2 million is from their management of funds for non-profit partners.
His company also provides free 1-on-1 counseling to assist entrepreneurs and direct them to lending options.
“We provide technical assistance, counseling for entrepreneurs and also small business lending,” he said. “It’s a confidential service and it works with entrepreneurs from a very early stage, people who woke up that day with an idea, to entrepreneurs that have been operating 10, 20 years and are maybe at a point in seeing a new opportunity or facing new challenges.”
Responding to questions by council members, Hall said the percentage of backing support from the city depends on the contract, but it could be as much as 50 percent. He also stated that the company’s overall default percentage is 8 percent and, in the event the contract is not renewed, they would continue to collect debt for old loans still on the books.
Council members also gave a thorough review of several matters related to the NYA Fire Department including township fire service rates, rules and bylaws for the department and relief association and new members and officers.
As agreed upon during a meeting on Jan. 28, all five townships will pay $140 per unit for 2015, the same amount paid in 2014. Rates have increased since 1999, when it was $77.50 per unit.
NYA Fire Chief Steve Zumberge said the cost puts NYA in line with the rest of Carver County.
“In the past we’ve gone up quite a bit,” he said. “The goal was to get our department in line with other departments in the county and we have achieved that now… We’re no longer the lowest and we’re not the highest.”
This figure accounts for 42 percent of the fire department’s $161,268 budget. The remaining 58 percent, or $93,788, comes from the city.
The updated NYA Fire Department Constitution and relief association bylaws were presented by Steve Noll who took the advice of council members on several changes.
Most significantly, the relief association will solely exist as a nonprofit corporation because the pensions were shifted to the Statewide Volunteer Firefighters Retirement Plan, which is administered by the Public Employees Retirement Association.
In other news, the NYA appointed Karen Hallquist to the Planning Commission, adopted the previously discussed surface water management plan and reaffirmed their intent to acquire Outlot A for a public use by requesting special legislation.
The 20-acre outlot, located just south of Young America Lake and due north of the bench on County Road 134, had been claimed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as well.
The NYA Council will next meet on March 10 at 6:30 p.m.
Contact Adam Gruenewald at [email protected]