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By Whitney Wyatt/The Red River Sun—
CHILDRESS – The Childress City Council held a public hearing to discuss the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program Revolving Loan Fund Closeout Application on Monday, Nov. 16.
In 1986, the city entered into a contractual agreement with the Texas Department of Community Affairs, which is now administered by the Texas Department of Agriculture, Childress Municipal Development District (CMDD) Executive Director Doc Smith said. Using Federal Community Development Block Grant funds to create a Revolving Loan Fund encouraged economic development in Childress.
“The first loan was made to B3R Country Meats,” Smith said. “After that loan was repaid, numerous economic development projects have been funded over the last 34 years.”
In 2016, the Texas Department of Agriculture records indicated the outstanding balance of the contractual agreement was $422,000, consisting of a $290,000 expenditure for equipment at the new Childress Event Center, plus cash and economic development loans totaling $132,000, Smith explained.
With the creation of the CMDD in May 2018, the city transferred the revolving loan fund to CMDD’s control. Smith said the City and CMDD would like to close out the obligation to the Texas Department of Agriculture.
In September, the CMDD purchased the remaining two loans from the revolving loan fund to facilitate the current $135,071.80 cash close out amount.
“To close out the obligation with the Texas Department of Agriculture, we have the choice of finding projects preapproved by Texas Department of Agriculture that benefit low to moderate income individuals, abused children, elderly persons, battered spouses, homeless persons, severely disabled persons or illiterate adults,” Smith said. “Or alternatively, we will have to return the unused cash to the Texas Department of Agriculture.”
At a Called City Council meeting on Monday, Nov. 16, the Childress City Council unanimously approved a resolution authorizing the submission of a Texas Community Block Grant Program Revolving Loan Fund Closeout Application that requests the use of the funds locally, Smith explained.
The initial requests to be submitted for Texas Department of Agriculture’s approval and funding are Childress Christmas Sharing, Inc., a new walk-in cooler/freezer for the Childress Food Bank, Childress Women’s League Backpack Program, Childress Meals on Wheels, Childress Women’s Council Shoe Program and CASA of the Rolling Plains with other local programs to be added to utilize the entire $135, 071.80, Smith added.
“These funds can be very helpful toward these entities,” said Childress City Manager Kevin Hodges. “The City Council approved the ability to wind down this loan process. It’s served its purpose and its term.”