COVID business loans to save more than 50 jobs | New

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Four other Indiana County businesses have borrowed from an interest-free loan fund offered by the county to help businesses recover from the economic hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Each will borrow $ 50,000 on the same conditions: no payment the first year, then five years to repay the capital.

The money comes from a $ 1.23 million grant that launched the CARES Act Revolving Loan Fund administered by the Indiana County Planning and Development Office.

Borrowers include Romeo’s Pizza Place and Mediterranean Restaurant, Oakland Avenue, Indiana; Luxenberg’s Inc., a jewelry store along Philadelphia Street, Indiana; Noble Stein Brewing, Indian Springs Road, White Township; and Maudie’s Sixers Restaurant and Tavern, Route 286, Township of Center.

The money would save at least 55 jobs, according to Angela Campisano of the planning office, including the equivalent of 37 full-time employees at Romeo’s, 10 at Luxenberg’s, five at Maudie’s and three at Noble Stein.

The Indiana County Council of Commissioners approved the loans at Wednesday’s bi-monthly business meeting.

Businesses are allowed to spend loan funds on rent, utilities, payroll, inventory, and other “critical operating expenses”.

In other areas, the commissioners:

• Affirmed county oversight of compliance with federal laws that prohibit discrimination in housing. The county’s commitment is to promote, educate and assist in the enforcement of the Fair Housing Act in Indiana, Burrell Township and Central Township, where federal community development grants are spent ; and the designation of a Fair Housing Officer to establish a complaints process and enforce federal and state housing laws.

The measures coincide with the celebration of April as Fair Housing Month.

• Hired the engineering firm Stiffler McGraw & Associates, of Hollidaysburg, Blair County, for a fee of $ 4,000, to develop asbestos removal and disposal plans for the old Ernest Mine building. , which must be demolished.

• Formally accepted a grant of up to $ 100,000 from the Pennsylvania Arts Council of the Creative Communities Initiative and pledged up to $ 10,000 in local money to develop a live art program. air in the county. The county planning office and Open Spaces Creative Collective, a coalition of arts organizations and artists, will oversee the projects.

• Approved the proposed allocation of approximately $ 85,000 provided to the county by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission from the Act 13 Impact Fee fund.

Natural gas drilling and production companies that develop unconventional gas wells, such as those that use hydraulic fracturing to mine the Marcellus and Utica shale fields, contribute money to the fund each year. The PUC distributes the money among the areas that host these gas wells to reimburse local expenses or develop programs related to wear and tear caused by fracking.

The PUC awarded the money drillers paid in 2019 based on the operation of 23 eligible unconventional gas wells in the county.

The number of wells has remained stable in recent years and Indiana County’s share of money has fallen, according to Byron Stauffer, director of the county’s planning office.

The commissioners agreed to donate $ 15,000 to the Indiana County Fire Academy in Central Township, where fire departments and volunteers receive training in emergency preparedness; $ 15,000 to the Indiana County Emergency Management Agency for Hazardous Materials Team operations; $ 20,000 for various unspecified public safety projects; $ 13,000 for farmland preservation efforts; and the balance, just under $ 22,000, to the county capital reserve fund.

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