The Sandy Springs Development Authority decided on May 14 not to use its reserve funds to help businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic through a revolving loan fund.
Andrea Worthy, the city’s director of economic development, told council members that she had investigated how other agencies have set up revolving loan programs to help businesses cope with the financial crisis. coronavirus. An Atlanta city and a Fulton County Development Authority program with $ 2 million in funding had so many applicants that within 15 minutes the funds were depleted. These loans ranged from $ 20,000 to $ 50,000.
Worthy said that an outside agency with experience in administering loan programs was running the program. Worthy said she and Caroline Davis, economic development specialist for the city, did not have the resources to administer a loan program. But entrusting it to an outside party eliminates the possibility of specifying the types of businesses eligible for a loan.
President Chip Collins said that with only about $ 300,000 in reserve funds, the authority does not have enough money to make a difference for more than a handful of businesses.
“I think the concept is certainly worthy and admirable,” he said. “But would we really make a difference? Is this the best and the best use of our funds to just help a number of businesses, only the lucky ones who are the first to sign up? “
“I agree with you that I don’t think it’s enough funds to make a difference. I’m not sure we want to commit the full amount of our reserves to a program, ”said Jimmy Glenn, board member who is also a candidate for the Fulton County Board of Directors.
Collins said he believes the authority will not run out of assistance opportunities over the next 18 months.
Collins and other board members agreed that small businesses in the North End – and now with the coronavirus, possibly all over town – need help and they should look for ways to offer service. ‘help.
Worthy said staff will continue to look for ways to pool authorities’ resources with other entities that make sense.