Village committee recommends approval of 2 microloans, 1 facade grant

RANTOUL — The village board will vote on a recommendation to loan $30,000 to a local lawn care company and $10,000 to a local floral shop.

The micro loan committee, which met last week, also recommended the board approve a $10,000 facade grant.

Recommended for micro loan approval was Elite Pro Lawns, owned by Justin Walton.

The $30,000 loan would be paid back over five years at 2 percent interest, with monthly payments of $525.85.

Walton listed as collateral three service trucks, one snow plow, four leaf blowers, an Apple computer, a laser printer and six lawn mowers.

His application listed as the number of jobs retained or created as one.

Village Administrator Scott Eisenhauer said Walton had two years of financial history and two years of projections.

“The first year, his profit-loss was fairly thin,” Eisenhauer said. “His second year, he extended his profit margin significantly.”

He said Walton projects being able to expand his revenue if he is able to upgrade his equipment.

Committee member Denny Long said he believes the collateral listed is adequate to recommend loan approval.

“He’s a hard worker,” committee member Jim Smith said. “I think one of the areas he plans to expand is snow removal.”

Committee member Connie Nelson said she would like to see a more complete financial report.

Nelson said Walton “definitely has earning potential,” but she was concerned his profit might be impacted if he adds more employees.

Smith said he doesn’t believe Walton intends to add more employees, although he was not “100 percent sure.”

“He’s basically fixing his summer-fall lawn care equipment, and he’s expanding into snow removal,” Smith said. “I just think he’s going to be keeping himself a heck of a lot busier.”

Committee member Herman Fogal said Walton employs himself, his father-in-law and three or four other people. None, except Walton, is full time.

After learning that, Nelson said she was satisfied since Walton did not plan to add more employees.

Walton’s business provides lawn care and landscaping. He has been in business since 2013, and his business volume has been increasing.

FLORAL SHOP LOAN
The committee also recommended approval of a $10,000 micro loan to A House of Flowers, owned by Paula Hopkins.

The $10,000 loan would be paid off over five years at 2 percent interest with monthly payments of $175.28.

Collateral would be a second mortgage on 113 E. Sangamon Ave.

Jobs created/retained would be two full-time and three part-time.

The loan would help to pay for reconstruction of the exterior of her storefront, which was damaged by falling debris from a neighboring property.

Hopkins has a revolving loan fund loan on the business, secured by a mortage on the building. It has an outstanding balance of $22,884. She is current on those payments.

Hopkins said the loan will pay 50 percent of the cost of the building repair that is not being covered by insurance. She said total building damage “is about $32,000.”

The committee recommended approval of the micro loan.

It also recommended the board approve a $10,000 facade grant to A House of Flowers.

Eisenhauer said the committee had not reviewed facade grants in the past, but he thought it was a good idea to do so.

“I brought it to the committee for review, and it will also go to the full board,” Eisenhauer said. “I think it’s important with a facade grant that we have a review process in place.”

The work to repair her building will include clearing damaged brick, assessing and repairing additional damages and reinforcing remaining materials.

A new facade is being installed “to ensure the business maintains the aesthetic value of the downtown area,” according to the application.

The village board is expected to consider the micro loan and facade grant recommendations at its January study session and vote on them at its monthly meeting.

CURRENT LOANS
The board also reviewed the list of current loans.

Loan recipients who are in arrears in micro loans are:

— Debra Austin, who bought equipment but never opened a business. She has a balance of $14,241.

— Quenton Hillsman, who operated a barbecue truck, which is out of business. He has a balance of $13,000.

—Denver Miller Sr., who owes $41,058 on property on South Tanner Street that was later sold to Bill Schluter, who sold it to Dale Eaker for the relocated Goodyear Tire Center. The property had been sold for real estate taxes before being purchased by Schluter.

— CCK Hospitality Group, which has a balance of $45,672.

— Perry Johnson, who planned to open a fresh seafood store. He owes $8,713 on a $10,000 loan.

In total the micro loan fund has a balance of $434,754, with the bulk of the 29 loan recipients being current on their payments.

Meanwhile, the EDA revolving loan fund has a balance of $558,843, with one loan recipient — EDDS Inc., which is a now-closed business — significantly late on payments. It has a loan balance of $6,121.

Victor Torres Sr., meanwhile, is one month late on a loan, which has a balance of $12,834.

All of the delinquent accounts have been or will be turned over to village attorney Ken Beth to seek payment.

dhinton@rantoulpress.com

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