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Village of Grafton — Grafton village staff should be freed up now to focus more on day-to-day tasks.

That's because the village board on Monday, Sept. 19, voted to transfer its revolving loan program to Ozaukee Economic Development.

The revolving loan fund is a village-run program that administers low-interest rates to businesses in the village of Grafton. Its goal is to spark economic development, while providing returning funds to the loan pool as borrowers pay back the loan with interest, according to the village's website. The fund has a current balance of $695,615.

Village board and staff members have been discussing transferring the program to Ozaukee Economic Development for at least a year, said Village Administrator Jesse Thyes. He said the non-profit, which focuses on growing local business, has taken over the administration of most revolving loan programs in the county.

The village will still approve or deny loans, and the transfer will not cost the village anything, Thyes said. Ozaukee Economic Development will take over the administration and report writing for loans.

“They will be the caretakers of the village's account, if you will,” Thyes said. "It was a welcomed offer."

Executive director of Ozaukee Economic Development Kathleen Cady Schilling said taking over Grafton's revolving loan program makes sense for the organization because it makes them a "one-stop shop" for those looking to start or expand a business locally.

“Our job is to help businesses expand and locate here in the county,” she said. "So, for us, it makes sense.”

About the loan program

The revolving loan fund was started as a way to offer business owners alternative financing options in order to make the village of Grafton a more competitive community for business, according to the village website.

The village offers loans of at least $20,000 at between 2 percent and 3 percent above prime rates to applicants who meet certain requirements. Half of the project costs must come from a private source, and businesses must make 51 percent of their jobs available to low- and moderate-income individuals, the village website says.

Loans can be used for the purchase, rehabilitation, renovation, or construction of a building; site acquisition and preparation; purchase of fixtures and equipment; and working capital, according to the village website.

To find out more about the program, visit village.grafton.wi.us/100/Revolving-Loan-Program.

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