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Local News

County officials considering changes to economic development loan program

Kendall County Administrator Scott Koeppel talks during the Tuesday, Oct. 15 County Board meeting in Yorkville.
Kendall County Administrator Scott Koeppel talks during the Tuesday, Oct. 15 County Board meeting in Yorkville.

YORKVILLE – A Kendall County ordinance that allows the county to loan money to municipalities and private businesses is getting a second look and may soon include interfund borrowing within the county.

The Kendall County Board agreed to have county officials further discuss proposed revisions for the county’s economic development loan program during the county’s economic development committee during their meeting Tuesday, Oct. 15. Board members Elizabeth Flowers and Audra Hendrix were absent from the meeting.

Kendall County Administrator Scott Koeppel said the key proposed changes to the revolving loan recapture strategy ordinance include capping loans to private businesses at $100,000 and allowing county interfund borrowing capped at $750,000 a loan. Along with keeping the maximum borrowed amount for a municipality at $750,000, he said, the changes also include taking out a clause that specifies maximum loan amounts that different municipalities can take out based on population, since those terms expired June 1, 2019.

“That’s something I though the committee and the board may want to consider,” Koeppel said.

The update comes after the County Board approved the current revolving economic development loan program in 2017.

Kendall County Board member Matt Kellogg said the purpose of the population-based municipal loaning was, to the best of his recollection, a way to implement fair distribution with municipalities in the county.

“But then, now that I look back on it, population isn’t as important as what economic [benefits] it can bring to the county,” Kellogg said.

Kendall County Board member Amy Cesich said she liked the idea of using short-term interfund borrowing in a way that would benefit the county in an emergency funds or capital projects situation.

“Could you say that, if we improve building or something, does that help the public? And you could,” but the county would always need to keep the original short-term intent of that part of the loan program in mind, Cesich said.

The update also follows the County Board approving a new payment plan for an economic development loan for the owners of a now closed Montgomery restaurant in 2018 after the owners failed to make the originally set monthly payments.

Koeppel said the county has about $1.8 million in the fund currently with a couple of loans out currently. He said the owners of Lucky’s Beef n Dogs in Montgomery are still making ongoing payments following the 2018 vote.

Kendall County Board member Judy Gilmour said her main concerns with the program in general are in addressing how the county could best guarantee a municipality would pay back a loan.

“If it’s something, a private business, they’re going to put up some concerted collateral,” Gilmour said. “But what does a city put up? So I would like to see that really ironed out before we go forward.”

Koeppel said he will look further into Gilmour’s concerns. He also mentioned there was a way of ensuring repayment for interfund borrowing by putting the repayment in the following year’s budget.

“For a park district or fire protection district, you can’t control their budget and put in the repayment, but with the county funds, you can,” Koeppel said.

The next economic development committee meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Oct. 25 in the county office building, 111 W. Fox St.

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