Starke County Leaders to Apply for COVID-19 Relief Funds Following Agreement Discussion

Starke County leaders will be working on an agreement on how funds would be handled if awarded an OCRA grant for COVID-19 relief.

Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Larry Wickert proposed applying for $250,000 from the Office of Community and Rural Affairs to assist small businesses.  He commented that the City of Knox has received similar funding and the Town of North Judson is also seeking this kind of funding to help small businesses.

As for what small businesses would qualify, that will be discussed in an upcoming meeting. 

Wickert said a $25,000 loan to be paid back within three to five years, or a $10,000 grant could be given, based upon a review of an application from the small business owner.  Wickert said after the loan has been paid up to 75 percent the rest could be put into a revolving loan fund for future projects. 

Commissioner Kathy Norem mentioned that the county doesn’t have matching funds available for a 20 percent match, but Wickert said the Foundation could put up the match as long as the funds could be paid back as previously described for the revolving loan fund. 

It was suggested that a member of the Starke County Council and Starke County Commissioners meet with the Wickert to discuss the details in an agreement prior to the commissioners’ next meeting.  That agreement would then be voted on during the commissioners’ meeting on July 6.