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Crookston Times - Crookston, MN
  • City Council: Resident thinks city should give ‘micro-loans’ for storm clean-up

  • Council, mayor, Hoiseth agree city is not equipped to handle such a loan program
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  •     Jerome’s Addition resident Peter Rimar, who moved to Crookston a couple years ago, sent a letter to Mayor Genereux and the City Council last week in regards to the town's storm damage and how he feels the city should step in to help with a "micro loan."    
        This week, at the council's Ways & Means Committee meeting, the issue was dropped after council members and CHEDA Executive Director Craig Hoiseth agreed that the city was not trained to handle those types of loans.    
        "Back in May, the city found $20,000 to purchase trees for the new subdivision," Rimar stated. "Last Monday night, the 2014 storm blew down our 100-year-old tree. As it crashed down to earth, it severely damaged our 80-year-old tree forcing us to spend $800 to take it down. Do I expect the city to cover the damages related to the storm? No."     
        Rimar mentioned in his letter that if the city had money to repay the Jennens $16,200 for the "Castle Park fiasco" and "considering this couple were supposedly going to invest $1 million on free public land, then the city should be able to find the money to clear storm debris around the Jerome's and Woods additions."    
        He also brought up how CHEDA had the money to give another $40,000 loan to Dawn Bjorgo of Cofé, but "that money would be better spent helping folks repair the damage from the storm."    
        Clarifying a couple things from the letter, Mayor Dave Genereux said the Jennens were not paid $16,200 for their plan revisions – the council committee approved an $8,000 reimbursement this week – and the city has worked really hard to remove storm debris from the community.    
        "I don't think there have been any trees or clean-up on the berm turned away by the city," the mayor said.     
        "The tone of this letter is disheartening," Genereux went on. " I know our residents are very stressed right now, but we are doing what we can to clean up."    
        Genereux asked the council what they thought about "micro loans" for residents who need help with storm damage.    
        "Keep in mind there are banks here, too," he added. "And Dawn (Bjorgo) got turned down by the bank and had no other place to go. She has a good payment history and provided everything needed to get the loan."    
        The issue was later brought up during the Ways & Means Committee meeting.    
    Page 2 of 2 -     "Can the city do micro loans of $500 each?" asked Genereux. "Or just let the banks handle it?"    
        "The city is not trained for loans like that and should avoid it if they can," Hoiseth responded.    
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