By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO Flush with more than $300,000 from the builders of the Millennium Pipeline, the Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) Board on Tuesday unanimously created the Millennium Revolving Loan Fund (MRLF).
“Goodness knows this county needs it, and they need it now,” said IDA Board member Charlie Barbuti.
Along with Harold Gold, Steve White and Harris Alport, Barbuti sat on the IDA subcommittee that determined what to do with the $108,000 per year the IDA has been collecting from the Millennium Pipeline for the past three years an agreement that will last for another seven years, for a total of $1,080,000.
Those payments were intended to offset some of the millions of dollars’ worth of sales and property tax abatements the IDA gave Millennium when it replaced the 60-year-old natural gas transmission pipeline running through western and southern Sullivan County in 2007.
The abatements which won’t completely run out until the 2020s remain controversial, but officials are hoping these ongoing economic-development-earmarked payments will be a boon to the county in the long term.
“I believe there will be great competition for this money,” predicted IDA attorney Walter Garigliano.
That’s partly because the IDA will attach as few strings to the monies as it legally can asking only for a one-page application form and a detailed business plan.
But the subcommittee also recommended the IDA rescind the original stipulation that these funds be used only for economic development in the townships through which the pipeline runs thus opening up the loan program to all of Sullivan County.
“Since the main transportation corridor of the county is Route 17 (future Interstate 86),” wrote Subcommittee Chairman Harold Gold in his report to the board, “it is unrealistic to expect certain types of businesses to locate in areas other than in close proximity to this limited access highway.”
Garigliano said the IDA wants to make the revolving loan fund as flexible as possible, explaining that repayment terms will be negotiated on a case-by-case basis. Indeed, those applicants lacking a formal business plan will be advanced as much as $1,000 to create such.
A review committee consisting of Gold, Alport and fellow IDA Board member Ed Sykes, plus CEO Allan Scott, will select the applicants to fund, subject to full IDA Board approval.
Loans will be given out in amounts ranging from $5,000-$75,000, Garigliano added, with a base interest rate of six percent that can be reduced to as little as one percent if the applicant agrees to hire local young people, install energy efficient systems and materials, and meet other IDA-determined goals.
Currently, $225,000 is available for the program, as another $25,000 is being dedicated to the IDA’s administrative costs, and a further $75,000 is being set aside to contract with the Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation to promote and enhance ag-oriented efforts in the county over the next three years ($25,000 per year).
IDA officials said they were excited about the possibilities, especially for smaller businesses, farms and entrepreneurial efforts that might otherwise face too many obstacles in obtaining government loans and grants.
“I think it’s something everyone in the county can benefit from,” said IDA Board Chairman Elwin Wood. “It’s not just one entity.”
For more information or to apply, contact IDA Executive Director Jennifer Brylinski at 295-2603.
In other IDA business
• County government officials are interested in transferring the two main Apollo Mall redevelopment properties in Monticello to the IDA, in order to expedite the lease process.
The transfer would likely have to be to the newly created IDA Local Development Corporation, said Garigliano.
The board, which seemed receptive, will explore the matter further.
• Brylinski expects the redesigned IDA website to be up and running by July 18.
• The IDA continues to await a proposal from an engineering firm redesigning the stormwater plan for the red meat processing facility in Liberty.
Garigliano said rainy weather delayed survey work but expects progress to recommence this week.