Government

Marengo officials mull infrastructure projects

State wants to shut down the city's Revolving Loan Fund account

MARENGO – The city will have a little extra money for infrastructure because of an inactive economic incentive account that the state of Illinois wants to close out.

Marengo’s Revolving Loan Fund is an economic incentive tool that allows the city to offer low-interest loans to businesses that want to expand or relocate to Marengo, but the last business to take advantage of the program was Marengo Auto Group two decades ago. The only activity in the account since 2001 has been accrued interest, according to city documents.

Now the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development wants to shut down inactive accounts under new Housing and Urban Development guidelines, so the city must find a qualifying project on which to use the remaining balance.

The account has $320,739 left in it. The funding only can be used to make a loan to a business with a qualifying project or on a public infrastructure program that meets Community Development Block Grant requirements, said Jennifer Snelten, the city’s finance director.

“We are going to be having meetings with the department and the state, and they will give us more detailed guidelines,” she said. “It’s going to be a matter of using them for a public infrastructure project that meets eligibility guidelines.”

The city won’t have a firm grasp on what it can do with the money until the state lays out the rules, but finding something to spend the money on shouldn’t be a problem, City Administrator Gary Boden said.

“It’s not just [Marengo] that is in this situation,” he said. “It’s a nice piece of money. We just want to make sure what we are going to use it for is appropriate.”

Mayor Donald Lockhart said it was too early to tell what the priority would be for the funds, but he was pleased to have the extra revenue.

“I’d like to see what the details are and fit some of it in,” he said. “If we can get some streets paved or something like that, it’d be great.”

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