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City RLF in good shape
MONROE - The City of Monroe Revolving Loan Fund is sitting well off, with over a million dollars available for future applications.

City Administrator Phil Rath reported to the fund committee Tuesday that payments on outstanding loan balances, totaling about $100,000, are current.

However, one business, Bargains Galore, a discount food store on the city's west side, closed its doors March 11. That business still owes about $22,000 to the city loan fund. The board voted for the Sugar River Bank, the primary lender, to pursue judgment on the loan. The city has first lien on the inventory, a second lien on personal property and another lien on a private residence.

Joe Klien, vice president at Sugar River Bank, said there is a good possibility another party is interested in buying the business. The store was doing well in sales before closing, but its primary challenge was maintaining enough cash flow to replace inventory, he added.

Charlie's Bark Park was approved for an $80,000 loan in December; however, that business has not taken out any funds from the approved loan, Rath said.

Originally intending to open its second location at 4th Avenue West and West 6th Street, Charlie's Bark Park is now looking for a different location in the city, Rath added. A change in location would mean the loan process would have to start over again, but indications are that the company now has private investors and will not be coming back to the city for a loan.

Rath said there are two potentially new applications, but none have been formally submitted.

The city, as well as the county, was preparing last year to join other communities in a southwest regional revolving loan fund. Those plans have been frozen at the federal level, Rath said. Until the city receives more information or authority to proceed with the regional plan, the city is operating its RFL as it has been. Meanwhile, Rath is researching the possibility for de-federalizing the city's program, which could allow the city or an authorized administration to set its own requirements for loans and applicants.

The RLF offers low interest loans to qualifying applicants. The RLF program is linked to job creation; applicants may request up to $20,000 for every full-time equivalent job created. The city's RLF was initially created through funds provided from the Community Development Block Grant program from the State of Wisconsin.