Through the program, the county would invest a portion of its cash reserves in providing low-interest loans to local communities. The loans could be used for capital improvement projects.
The program is the brainchild of
"This idea came out of the micro financing world," Duffy said. "That is, investing back into the community with assets you have on hand and getting a return."
Duffy said the program was designed with three primary goals in mind: providing municipalities with the opportunity to fix infrastructure, stimulating the economy by reinvesting locally and fostering further economic development.
Duffy said, by offering the loans at a 2 to 3 percent interest rate, the county would still make money while greatly helping local communities in need.
"This opens up an opportunity for the county to think outside the box," Duffy said. "Any interest the county would get back would be in the same ballpark, or maybe more, than they would get in other securities."
Termed at five to 10 years, the loans would give municipalities time to adjust their budgets for the repayments and would return the county's investment in a reasonable amount of time.
The intergovernmental loans would also eliminate the barriers and qualifications that often keep communities from receiving federal and state aid, Duffy said.
"A lot of the government programs out there do offer low interest loans, but they have strings attached to them," Duffy said.
With the program, the county would be free to grant loans based on need or greatest potential investment.
The finance committee discussed the loan program at the most recent meeting.
"There are couple programs like this already in place," board member
During the meeting, board member
The homeowners have come to the last two finance meetings to ask the county to fund the remaining
Duffy said he had Prairie Oaks, and similar projects, in mind when he drafted the loan program.
"Here's a group of people who have their own private septic system that's not working, and they need help," he said. "You could do a low-interest loan to help those in that community."
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