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City Council briefs

July 10, 2002

Council vote scheduled for changes in loan fund



City officials told the Hagerstown City Council Tuesday they want to change the Hagerstown Revolving Loan Fund's focus so it can help more downtown businesses.

The council is scheduled to vote on the changes at its July 23 meeting.

The city established the fund in April 1999 with $250,000 in state funds and a $250,000 city match, according to a staff report.

The fund's purpose is to encourage the retention and expansion of existing businesses or to help recruit new businesses, a staff report said. The fund is not intended to be the primary lender to businesses.

There is $308,569 currently available through the program.

At Tuesday's meeting, the city officials suggested setting aside $100,000 of the funds to be used exclusively in the downtown area. They also recommended offering a 1 percent discount on the interest rate to borrowers in the area.

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They also suggested increasing the interest rate on fund loans from the prime rate to the prime rate plus 2 percent. The prime rate is currently 4.75 percent, which staff feels is too low given the level of risk involved in the loans.

Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire said the recommendations are good ones.




Marbles champion honored



During Tuesday's meeting, the Hagerstown Mayor and City Council honored Jonathan Hulse, 14, of Hagerstown.

Hulse was crowned national marbles king June 20 at the 79th annual National Marbles Tournament in Wildwood, N.J.

Morgan Kellman, 13, of Middletown, Md., was crowned queen.

They outlasted 57 other challengers in the tournament.

In doing so, each won a $2,000 college scholarship and a permanent place in the Marbles Hall of Fame.

Hulse and last year's winner, Tim Ratliff of Smithsburg, attended Tuesday's meeting.

After being congratulated by the mayor and council, Hulse thanked Ratliff for getting him involved in the game.

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