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Clark County rejects $400,000 state loan

Administrator says terms led county to fund work itself.

Clark County commissioners Wednesday rejected a $400,000 state loan that was to be used to renovate the Springview Government Center.

Officials applied for the Local Government Innovation Fund loan late last year and learned they would receive it in February. But they decided to reject the 10-year, no-interest loan because of the terms and conditions offered by the Ohio Department of Development, Clark County Administrator Nathan Kennedy said.

“It just wasn’t advantageous compared to just being able to issue the note ourselves,” Kennedy said. “It was too hard to do. Too much pain. Too much trouble.”

Commissioners are now expected to issue a note in May for about $700,000 with an interest rate at about three-quarter percent to pay for renovations, Kennedy said.

The funds are needed to help move tenants to the government center after Commissioners John Detrick and Rick Lohnes voted 2-1 to lease the agricultural building to Konecranes, a local company that established a global training facility at the site and plans to add at least 25 new jobs here.

Renovations at Springview are expected to cost about $687,000.

Springview currently houses nine offices, including the sheriff’s office’s east substation, the utilities and community development departments, the board of elections, the coroner’s office, the emergency management agency, the transportation coordinating committee, the soil and water conservation district and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

As part of the renovations, the Ohio State University Extension office will move from the Clark County Agricultural Services building, 4400 Gateway Blvd., to Springview.

Commissioner David Hartley opposed the Konecranes deal.

“I’m embarrassed that we did it, but I’m not embarrassed that I opposed it. It’s a waste of taxpayer money,” Hartley said on Wednesday. “A loan is a loan, even if it’s zero percent. ”

Detrick said the deal with Konecranes helped bring new jobs to the community, improved economic development and ensured that jobs were not moved out of the area.

He praised Kennedy for recommending the county reject the loan and issue a note instead.

“It was just a good decision. I support Nathan on doing what’s right … We found a better way to do it,” Detrick said.

Lohnes expressed disappointment that the no-interest loan with the state didn’t pan out as planned after the staff worked hard on the application.

“I’m disappointed it was so difficult. It was difficult to get it,” Lohnes said.

He said the amount the county will spend on renovations is more than he expected, but “not that much more.”

Lohnes said revenue from lease agreements from the departments within Springview as well as the lease with Konecranes is expected to generate about $730,000 in 10 years.

Officials recently voted to use $750,000 from the county rainy day fund to pay for renovations and the note issued in May will be used to replace those funds, Kennedy said.

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