NEW PORT RICHEY — A microloan program to help small businesses got a boost this week from Pasco County commissioners, who pledged $100,000 to help provide the loans.
"We need jobs," Commissioner Pat Mulieri said at the board's meeting Tuesday. "This is a way we can take our small business people and help them expand."
The program is being spearheaded by the Pasco Economic Development Council, which needed to start the program with local support to secure a sponsorship through the federal Small Business Administration.
"We hope this is a one-time deal only," said Michael Cox, a former County Commissioner and head of the EDC efforts to develop the program.
He said the maximum loan would be $35,000 and would provide financing for expansions that banks were reluctant to grant loan approval, such as those involving movable equipment. Cox recalled how he once got turned down for a loan that would have paid for equipment for his auto repair businesses.
"I had to scrounge and beg my father for the money," he said.
Cox said that several banks, including Wells Fargo, had committed funding for the program. Tim Tangredi, CEO of Odessa nanotechnology firm Dais Analytic, and his wife had committed $10,000.
"They remember how they got help," he said, referring to the county incentives the firm received to move to Pasco from New York.
Cox said the EDC would establish rules for the program through a committee that would include representation from the county. The group will return with a draft before the program receives final approval.
County budget director Mike Nurrenbrock said the money could come from a $500,000 fund that the county previously established to aid existing businesses. It would not be taken from a $2 million fund to attract new industry.
"We won't have to use our big fish money," he said.