Discussions are underway among members of the Effingham County Economic Development Advisory Board regarding possible revisions to the requirements for receiving a loan from the revolving credit fund program.
Board chairman David Campbell said he wanted to open a discussion on whether or not to add a credit report clause in the application for those who want an RFL loan.
“A credit report would be required with the application and the cost of obtaining the report would be paid by the applicant,” Campbell said. “The report must come from one of the three major credit bureaus.”
Vice Chairman Heather Mumma was concerned about how the credit report is interpreted.
“If you have a credit score of 500 because your wife has cancer, it’s a lot different,” Mumma said. “I think we should look at it on a case-by-case basis.
The newest member of the advisory board, Norma Lansing, said most credit scoring companies allow people to have a free credit report every year.
“So it’s not necessarily going to cost them anything to do that,” Lansing said.
Board member Larry Taylor had another opinion.
“I’m not opposed to it (requiring a credit report), but I think it will limit the number of people who apply for a loan,” Taylor said. “I think it will scare some people.”
“The reason that would scare them off is that they don’t have good credit,” Mumma said.
“No, that’s not the only reason,” Taylor replied. “People don’t like paperwork and they don’t like government paperwork even more. It could all be overwhelming for the average person. These are not big companies who come here to get loans.
Advisory board member Ed Hoopingarner agreed with Taylor.
“I’m not against it, but I think it will turn some people away,” Hoopingarner said.
Mumma said the paperwork people need to complete to qualify for the RFL loan ask applicants the same question multiple times.
“It’s a good app and it has worked well so far,” Taylor said.
Board member Elizabeth Huston suggested asking those who have received the loan in the past for their opinion on the idea of credit checking.
“I don’t think there is anything wrong with asking for assurance that the money they receive will not be wasted,” Lansing said. “Whether it’s a credit score or just a (credit) score. “
“Whatever we do, we have to be consistent in all areas,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s a $ 5,000 loan $ 15,000 or $ 20,000.”
Campbell recommended that advisory board members review the revolving loan application and continue discussions on whether to make changes to the wording of the documentation and the application process at their August meeting.
Meanwhile, Economic Advisory Board member and City of Effingham Economic Development Director Todd Hull presented advisory board members with a review of new businesses around Effingham in his retention report.
Hull said the former Hodgson’s Mill log cabin-style commercial location at 1001 Ford Avenue has been sold and is now the future home of Outlaw Steakhouse and Saloon. Hull said he did not have a specific timeline on when the restaurant would open to the public.
He said Flex-N-Gate purchased the World Color Press building which was most recently used by Pinnacle Foods. The building was vacated after the construction of a new warehouse in Saint-Elme.
“There’s a lot of work that needs to be done at the building before they can get it where they want it. They are in the process of rehabilitating the building, ”said Hull. “I think it will be a year before they go into production.”
He said Flex-N-Gate initially hires around 50 people until they go into full production when they plan to increase that number to 300 employees.
“The most common question I get asked is what about Meijer,” Campell said.
“It’s still in the books. COVID has slowed them down, ”Hull said. “Everything was postponed for a year.
Hull said it would take around 12 to 18 months to open the store after construction of the building begins, depending on weather conditions and the cost of materials.