Loveland contributes $100K to Larimer loan fund

LOVELAND — The city of Loveland will contribute $100,000 to the Larimer County Small Business Loan Fund to aid businesses struggling with the effects of COVID-19..

The city council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve the contribution. The fund, originally begun by the Bohemian Foundation, the city of Fort Collins and the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce, will eventually total $5 million. The founders of the fund seeded it with $2 million and left the remaining $3 million to be raised by other foundations, city governments and private entities. 

Carrie Hanson, director of development for the Colorado Enterprise Fund, which will administer the loan program, told the council that the fund currently holds $3 million and is almost at $3.5 million. 

Kelly Jones, Loveland economic development director, asked that the council designate $100,000 of the city’s 3% TABOR Reserve to be committed to the loan fund. 

The Larimer small business loan fund will be available to small businesses — those with fewer than 20 employees — and be available at a low interest rate for a period of five years. The fund has already begun to accept applications and, said Jones, five loans to Loveland businesses have closed so far. 

Loveland resident Larry Sarner, who called into the meeting, objected to the spending saying that contributing city money to private businesses would violate the state constitution. Moses Garcia, city attorney, disagreed, saying that there is a constitutional provision as Sarner noted, but a significant exception to that provision is when a local government establishes a public purpose, and the ordinance designating the contribution established that public purpose as stabilizing the community.

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