Hudson City Council drops proposal to offer loans to small businesses

City official said most companies not interested in taking on more debt during COVID-19 pandemic

PHIL KEREN Reporter
Hudson City Council on Tuesday decided to drop a proposal offering a loan program to small businesses to help them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

HUDSON — Citing a lack of interest from local business, City Council has decided not to move forward with a loan program to assist local small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Legislation setting up a relief program for small businesses was re-visited by council on Tuesday, but legislators but voted 5-0 to withdraw the item from further consideration. 

City Solicitor Matt Vazzana said the legislation could be re-introduced at a later date, but it would be considered a new item and start over at a first-reading status.

“At this time, there does not seem to be an interest [from] businesses in loans,” said Council President Bill Wooldredge (At Large).

Hudson Economic Development Director Jim Stifler told council in May that businesses, for the most part, were not interested in the potential loan program because they did not want to assume more debt and because a company must be denied a loan from a bank before they could apply to the city’s program. He added there was “very little interest [among businesses] in going to a lending institution to see if [they] would be denied.”

Under the proposal that council withdrew, the Community Improvement Corporation would have administered a program offering two types of loans to small businesses to help them during the pandemic. One category of loans would have provided money for restocking of perishable items and the second classification would’ve provided funds to assist with re-opening costs. Loans would have been available to city businesses with 20 or fewer full-time employees (or full-time equivalents) and total annual business revenue of $2 million or less, for the most current fiscal year-end.

After the legislation had its third reading on June 16, council voted to postpone action until Aug. 18. The vote on postponement was 5-1, with Councilwoman Beth Bigham (Ward 4) dissenting, and saying council had already discussed the issue for months.

However, Bigham told the Hub-Times on Wednesday that she did not want to revisit the proposal because, “The more I learned about the regulations surrounding CICs, the more I understood that this is not the appropriate implementation tool.”

Editor’s note: Reporter April Helms contributed to this story.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at 330-541-9421, pkeren@recordpub.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.