City loans $20K to '50s & Fiddles

Friday, January 22, 2010

A business expanding from Shelbyville to Lewisburg's public square will probably be able to borrow $20,000 from the city because of a vote by the City Council.

The money is originally from a federal Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) provided to the city for a loan to expand a factory here. That business repaid the loan to the city, which created another fund to spend as it sees fit.

To obtain such a loan, a business must successfully complete an application and related reviews.

The Shelbyville business is '50s and Fiddles, located near the Capri Theater on Depot Street just east of the Bedford County Courthouse. It's become a popular music venue and ice cream parlor run by Ron and Don Stacey.

During the Jan. 12 Lewisburg City Council meeting, Councilman Ronald McRady moved to loan the Stacey Brothers $20,000 for five years at a rate of one percent. The vote was unanimous, but only after several points were clarified.

Lewisburg's Community Development Board (CDB), chaired by Edmund Roberts, recommended the loan under restrictions that panel has established. One of those limits is to cap loans at no more than $20,000. The CDB has been put in charge of up to $100,000 of the money in the city's account created since the factory completed the terms of its contract for UDAG money.

McRady recommended that no more than $20,000 be loaned to the Stacey Brothers. The rest of the councilmen agreed.

Noting discussion last year when the $20,000 limit had been described as too little to accomplish much of anything, Mayor Barbara Woods commented, "I've been at those meetings, too."

Councilman Odie Whitehead Jr. asked about the $20,000 limit and McRady explained that there had been discussion about making four loans of $25,000 each instead of five with the $100,000 fund. Adding information was City Manager Eddie Fuller who said the ordinance establishing the fund for the CDB's discretion has not been amended to include the $20,000 limit selected by the CDB.

Councilman Quinn Brandon Stewart asked if credit checks are run on applicants and the mayor said that had been done for this loan to the Stacey brothers. Fuller added that there's a mortgage on the building just east of the Marshall County Community Theatre. If the building had to be sold to cover debts and the sale price were less than the loan, then the city would lose the $20,000.

Woods, however, saw the Staceys' operation of a business in Shelbyville as an indication that the city will be repaid even if the property might sell for less than the mortgage.

"It's been successful," the mayor said of '50s and Fiddles in Shelbyville.

Stewart seconded McRady's motion and it was noted that the loan would be paid out as bills are presented for renovation of the building that was once a furniture store, but most recently housed the Busy Bee and County Republican Headquarters.

The loan is for renovation of the outside of the building. Interior changes are to be paid for by the owner or tenant.