Commissioners OK EZ loan range expansion | Local

Huntingdon County Commissioners approved expanding the range of of Enterprise Zone Loans that businesses can take out at their weekly meeting Tuesday morning.

Debra Clark Loner, Huntingdon County Business & Industry executive director, explained the current range was from $15,000-$75,000, but commissioners approved the new range from $10,000-$200,000.

She explained the reason for the range adjustment was to allow more opportunities for businesses to take out loans that better fit their needs.

Additionally, there’s around $600,000 in the Enterprise Zone funding in addition to waiting for $300,000 in payments from principals of current funds, so they’re not concerned about running out of funds.

“Because the Enterprise Zone is a limited area, we’re not concerned with overuse,” said Clark. “It can also be adjusted if it does become an issue later.”

Clark further explained it can help on the low end of the range to give businesses with a boost with things like updating equipment or construction projects.

Commissioner and chair Mark Sather noted that since the Enterprise Zone Loan was established in Huntingdon County, approximately $1.8 million has been given in loans to businesses without any of them defaulting on their loans.

Walls said this range expansion is a good thing, but it’s also best to be discerning when giving loans to businesses.

Clark also said she’s discussing with county planning director James Lettiere about expanding the area the EZ covers. Right now, it covers the Route 22 corridor from parts of Alexandria to Huntingdon and to Riverview Business Center in Shirley Township as well as parts of Mount Union Borough.

Commissioners also approved to proceed for the New Fording Bridge project in Todd Township.

Lettiere told commissioners he will now work with PennDOT to move the project forward, with the recommendation from commissioners to replace the bridge completely and to relocate the current bridge to preserve it.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding of $34,776.62 for Smithfield Township for 2018 was approved to be transferred to the levee projec.

County Veterans Affairs director Brian Bassett gained approval to attend the Pennsylvania State Association of County Directors of Veterans Affairs (PSACDVA) conference June 20-24 in Gettysburg. The cost will be $527.50.

Shannon Walborn, Huntingdon County Children’s Services director, received approval to attend a permanency conference at Pocono Manor June 21-24 at a cost of $200 for the conference and additional costs for $519.78.

Allison McClain was approved as a summer intern for the public defender’s office.

Maddie Rishal was approved as an adult probation officer for the probation department.

Kathryn Unger, county Emergency Management Agency director, gave the weekly COVID-19 update, noting in the last period she could track, the county went from an average of four cases per day to 12 cases per day for May 12-16.

“The state hasn’t updated numbers since last week,” she said.

The last known PCR rate for the county is 8.5%, and there’s one COVID-19 patient at Penn Highlands Huntingdon.

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