Waupaca County’s revolving loan fund (RLF) has circulated more than $3.6 million into the local economy.
Started in 1997 with a $270,000 federal loan to the Wolf River Country Co-Op in Weyauwega, the RLF has provided capital to 46 companies in Waupaca County.
The program is administered by the Waupaca County Economic Development Corporation (WCEDC).
WCEDC Executive Director Dave Thiel updated the county board Tuesday, Feb. 21, regarding the fund’s outstanding loans. He focused on several businesses that have gone bankrupt, defaulted or fallen behind on their payments.
Over the past 14 years, the county board has written off four loans for a total loss of just over $69,000. At least one more loan will need to be written off by county board action in the near future.
Manawa Pastry, which borrowed $30,000 through the county’s RLF in December 2008, went into bankruptcy in August 2011, according to the WCEDC’s January 2012 report on the fund. It closed, owing the county $22,934.
Thiel said the family bakery had been doing well, expanding its product into new markets, until one of the owners was hospitalized and the family could not keep up with its medical bills.
“The pastry shop’s assets will be sold by the bank at the end of this month,” Thiel said. “There are not enough assets to pay back the county.”
One of the county’s biggest losses is a result of the closing of LeRoy Butler Ford.
The dealership borrowed $100,000 for 10 years at 4 percent interest from the county’s RLF, when it opened in Waupaca in November 2009.
When LeRoy Butler Ford closed its doors in November 2011, it still owed the county $83,794.
Thiel said he continues to monitor the foreclosure proceedings against the dealership.
Although the WCEDC’s January report shows Neumetal Corporation in New London to be 10 months behind on its payments, Thiel told the county board Tuesday that he had just received a check for eight months of payment from the company.
“They will be caught up by April 1,” Thiel said, indicating that Neumetal had problems with a large project in Green Bay that caused temporary cash flow problems.
Neumetal borrowed $20,000 in November 2009 and makes monthly payments of just over $200.
Waupaca Havoline Express in Waupaca borrowed $40,000 from the RLF in October 2004.
The business has since gone into bankruptcy and emerged from proceedings with the court dismissing $33,653 left on its county loan.
Impact Publications Inc. in Waupaca is currently three months behind on its payments to the county RLF. It borrowed $25,000 in February 2008 and has paid over half of the principal owed on the loan.
“They expect business to pick up and to be caught up with their loan before the year is out,” Thiel said.
Northern Waters Industries, which started in Ogdensburg and is now in Manawa, borrowed $24,000 from the county’s RLF in June 2009. It is three months behind in its payments to the county.
Thiel said the company has responded to a challenging economy by expanding its original product line from building fiberglass boats to also making other molded products.
A grocery store in Manawa and a pizza place in Clintonville are each one month behind in payments, while two companies are actually one month ahead in their payments.
World Class Manufacturing Group in Weyauwega borrowed $100,000 from the RLF in November 2004 and owes about $30,000. As of Jan. 31, the company was one month ahead in its payments.
Lakeshore Auto in Clintonville borrowed $20,000 in January 2011 and is also one month ahead in its payments to the county.
The two largest current county loans were $600,000 to Quantum Dairy in Weyauwega, beginning in June 2007, and $250,000 to Utility Tool and Trailer in Clintonville in March 2007. Quantum has paid back more than $440,000 in principal and over $56,000 in interest. Utility Tool has paid back nearly $190,000 in principal and $8,065 in interest.
Both of these loans originated from Community Development Block Grants and have resulted in the growth of the county’s revolving loan fund.
Since the revolving loan fund was launched, 16 companies have repaid their loans in full for a total of $1.3 million. That money, along with the nearly $170,000 in interest, has been recirculated into the local economy.
“This has been a success for economic development in Waupaca County,” County Chairman Dick Koeppen said.