Appointments to Kennett Square Borough’s Revolving Loan Fund Committee now finalized
● By Steven Hoffman
Appointments to Kennett Square Borough’s Revolving Loan Fund Committee have now been finalized.
At the Feb. 5 borough council meeting, it was announced that the committee will include Nate Echeverria, the economic development director for the Kennett area; Mary Hutchins, the Historic Kennett Square executive director; borough council member Wayne Braffman; borough manager Joe Scalise; David B. Myers, an attorney with a law office on West State Street; Lisa Ionata, the borough’s finance director; Lee Sausen and Alex Wilson, who filled the two positions designated for residents on the committee; and Luis Tovar, a realtor with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services on West State Street.
The committee will oversee the borough's Revolving Loan Fund, which currently has approximately $900,000 that can be distributed to businesses that would help boost economic development activities in the borough.
More than a decade ago, the borough worked with a developer to secure $500,000 in state funding for an economic development project on State Street. The rules of the state grant required the developer to repay the money to the borough, and Kennett Square officials would then have those funds to spend on other economic development projects.
Borough council decided to form a special committee to review applications for business projects that would receive loans from the Revolving Loan Fund. The idea was to have a separate committee review the applications to ensure fairness, transparency, and to avoid potential conflicts of interest.
Borough council president LaToya Myers explained that the committee will make recommendations to borough council about which projects should be approved, and then it will ultimately be up to borough council to make the final decision. The borough is enlisting Seedcopa, which works with economic development partners throughout Pennsylvania, as a third-party organization to evaluate whether a particular business has the necessary credit to qualify for funding. Myers described this as a preliminary step before the Revolving Loan Fund Committee would vote to approve a loan application. Once the committee makes its recommendation, borough council would decide whether the project was a good fit for the borough, and whether the funding would ultimately be approved.
Council member Ethan Cramer said that the Revolving Loan Fund will be a “remarkable tool” for the borough to encourage economic development.
In other business at the Feb. 5 meeting, Kennett Square Borough Council authorized Marc Jonas, the borough’s solicitor, to work toward negotiating a settlement agreement with business owner Holly Peters over a dispute regarding a decision by the Kennett Square Shade Tree Commission. The disagreement, which dates back to 2013, revolves around the fate of a tree situated on the property of Peters’ business on South Broad Street. The hope is that a settlement agreement can be reached before the dispute ends up being decided in court.
In his Finance Committee report, Braffman noted that the borough will need to find $55,000 in this year's budget to pay for the borough's fair-share contribution to the regional EMS/Fire Commission. Braffman said that there was some confusion regarding which payments were to be considered as contributing to the borough's fair share allocation, and consquently the borough has about $55,000 more in obligations than had been anticipated.
Sally Braffman was appointed to serve on the Civil Service Commission as an alternate member. She took the oath of office immediately after borough council approved the appointment.
Geoff Bosley, a former council member, was appointed to the Finance Committee.
Kennett Square Borough Council will meet next on Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m.