Chadron Council Approves Grant For NNDC Revolving Loan Fund

CHADRON – The Chadron City Council approved a $285,000 grant from the city’s LB 840 Economic Development sales tax revenue to NNDC, the Northwest Nebraska Development Corp.

Of the grant, $265,000 would create a revolving loan fund with $20,000 for a grant program – both limited to new or established Chadron businesses.

The council was in full agreement on the general idea, but disagreed on how to implement it. George Klein, supported by Cheryl Welch, wanted to hold back $50,000 for 6 months as a reserve should the city suddenly need the money.

The other 3 members – Mayor Miles Bannan, Vice Mayor Keith Crofutt, and Mark Werner – felt it was in the city’s best economic development interests to get the entire amount to NNDC as soon as possible. Werner said NNDC has expertise the city lacks and can act in weeks instead of months.

A motion to adopt the Klein approach failed 3-2 before all 5 council members approved the original plan.

NNDC executive director Deb Cottier used the opportunity to defend her group from attacks in letters received by the council opposing the loan pool. One accusation was that NNDC might use the money for things other than loans to Chadron businesses.

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The letters also called for limiting LB 840 loans to helping only existing businesses, an approach Cottier called short-sighted and possibly improper if not illegal since it would violate the development plan approved by city voters along with the sales tax..

Cottier went on to say that NNDC’s track record is that about 2/3rds of the loans it makes are to existing businesses, either to help them expand or to move forward with new ownership.

Cottier said NNDC already has 3 existing businesses expressing interest in loans once the revolving fund is established.

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