BRASHER FALLS — A micro-loan program initiated by the Brasher Town Board in 2011 and operated by the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency to assist with starting or expanding a small business hasn’t had many takers, according to Supervisor Mark A. Peets.

The program has been open to Brasher residents who want to start a small business or expand their current business. But, because of the low number of applicants, the town board has agreed to expand the guidelines to include any non-Brasher resident who plans to open a small business in the town.

“What our micro-loan limits is just folks in the town of Brasher. We had it when Jim (former Supervisor M. James Dawson) was here, and nobody ever tried. We’ve had one successful loan application —the max, which was $30,000. His loan is on a payback schedule with the county,” Mr. Peets said.

He said the program is advertised by the Industrial Development Agency, but still hasn’t drawn much interest.

He said expanding the guidelines might draw more interest.

“There are people that want to do business in the town of Brasher that would try and qualify for the loan as well. We’re seeing some businesses that are here,” Mr. Peets said. “It’s going to benefit the people of Brasher.”

Potential business owners from outside the town may be on the fence about starting a business, he said. But, Mr. Peets said, they’re willing to help financially.

“I have up to $30,000 for you,” he said. “We may want to think about maybe investing some more money in that, maybe n next year’s budget. We can talk about it at budget time, so we can allow other folks to try and invest in Brasher. I think our goal is to get people to want to come to Brasher.”

When the program was initiated in 2011, Mr. Dawson said they wanted to make it a revolving loan fund that would help Brasher residents who were either starting a small business or were looking to expand.

“We just want to have a little fund that we can loan to small businesses,” Mr. Dawson said during the town board’s May 2011 meeting.

The gist of it

n WHAT: The Brasher Town Board has agreed to expand a micro-loan program that was initiated in 2011

n THE CHANGE: Loans which were previously available to Brasher residents to start or expand a small business are now available to non-Brasher residents who plan to start a small business in the town

n HOW MUCH: Loans of up to $30,000 are available through the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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