Archive for April, 2015
This evening is Beltane and many fire festivals across Europe, Ireland and Great Britain will herald its arrival.
At twilight, on Beltane Eve, fairy folk and magic abound, the veil between realms is thinnest now because the seasons are changing, the energies of nature are rising and with them the mysteries of new life approaching.
Beware then that the Fairy Queen doesn’t steal you away for an eternity outside time in her court sublime, and if you are spared – then welcome the May and enter the Summerlands the very next day. Celestial Elf http://celestialelfdanceoflife.blogspot.com/
I have tried and tried to remember when I first learned about fairies, it seems I knew about them before I could remember. My mum isn’t and wasn’t into fairies, I remember both grandmothers and their stories . The one, Nanny Bunyan was all romance with highway man and injustice in her poems to me as a child- https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2010/12/23/my-gift-for-your-december-graces-fur-coat/
I can remember back to before I was three. My Nanny Hines was all gentle and loving but her stories were about family. So who told me about fairy folk ? There were so many days playing in the rockery at the end of our garden looking for fairies, fairy rings and building little houses for them. But I have no idea where my belief in the fairies came from- I just did believe in them with all my little innocent and child’s heart.
A few days ago one of the face book people put up the following picture with the caption ” Share if you believe”( the angel overseeing the rescue) As I looked at the picture ( and what I believe having had some experience is a photo shop sort of thing) I nearly wrote
” Yes I believe in fairies”
I then realized the person sharing obviously did believe and who was I to make a sarcastic and unwarranted remark about what they believed to be true. My wondering mind then went to angel wings and feathers- no longer the child- I wondered why are angels usually depicted as having great bird wings with feathers .
I know I am not blessed with an original thought- so I googled –why are angels depicted with feathers? Of course the answers made sense logically speaking :
1. Because when the Bible was written ( apparently the Bible as we know never said angels have wings man decided that ) that was the only way the writers could signify how angels traveled from one place to the other. The Bible was written so that most people could visualize the characters and how they operated.
2. In the space of little more than two centuries (from the 3rd to the 5th) the image of angels took on definite characteristics both in theology and in art -during that era paintings of angels were given wings to differentiate them from humans.
So after reading a much of a muchness to answer my question about angel feathers. Logically the reasoning angels are encumbered with great feathery appendages to their backs is because man needed to explain how angels flew or travelled and their only example of flying things were the birds, and their feathers hence feathers. After all butterfly- like wings would hardly hold up a man or woman those were saved for the fairies.
And here I am again trying to find logic where there is none -except since feathery angel wings are man’s depiction it makes sense that photos of angels with wings hovering over an accident scene is also “man’s depiction”.
Ah beliefs, all entwined with stories that made sense in the man’s need for religion how many Catholics ( meaning the all-encompassing Christian beliefs” or those of Jewish face have used the word Karma in their everyday life and that comes from the oldest ( still practiced) religion today – Hinduism – http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2014/04/25/9-myths-about-hinduism-debunked/
Each of us has beliefs that are intertwined with other religions , our perception of angels not questioned and who is to say there aren’t fairies at the bottom of the garden , playing in the waterfalls – but one thing I know for sure there is something beyond our child like knowledge of this thing we call “life” and there are “no wings attached ” 😉
July 2013 I had written a series on the Design Review Board and the process-
This was before I became the victim of one of the Design Review Board’s members (Cathy Dye) and her personal vendetta against me using (in my opinion )the Lorain Building Dept. in order to “punish” –
Moving on ( and don’t I wish I could) back in 2013 Gary Fischer wrote about the process and the how what and where .
The owners (FOP) of the building( 926 Broadway) originally wanted to completely close the front and the guidelines and the board prevented the bricking up of the façade. The board also authorized the partial removal of the old coverings which allowed restoration rather than replacement of the front and it actually will save construction cost.
The design Arkineticshttp://www.arkinetics.com/
Today, the building once more stands proud and functional an attribute rather than a disgrace on Broadway!
Last week I wrote a post re the loan program for the City of Lorain.
I dwelt upon what I considered failures or spending “money for old rope” . Doug Rangel- Director Lorain Development Corp. was very informative and helpful when answering my questions at the time. I believe the information should be shared so I asked Mr. Rangel to not only respond to the post but to tell the readers a little of how the program works.
The loan programs we offer are similar to SBA loans in that we typically finance the middle 30-40% of loans that is sometimes the difference between companies being able to operate or being able to open.
Typical bank financing for commercial entities will allow for 70-80% with owners needing to provide 20-30% of their project costs which some may not have or its uses all of the owner’s available cash. The program that the City offers allows project costs to be split where bank does 60%, an owner only being required to put down 10% with the city’s program lending 30% in the middle. This allows owner to save some additional cash as reserves in lieu of putting everything in and having nothing to lean on if necessary. These funds are development loans for those businesses that do have more risk than others.
The amount of money down for an owner can sometimes be a challenge and lack of available cash/working capital can certainly hurt a business. In an ideal world, all companies would pay to terms but that does not often happen with terms getting stretched and it’s typically the smaller businesses that get impacted. This is why businesses need lines of credit for these short term borrowing needs. During the downturn, numerous companies had their lines of credit either reduced or simply eliminated thereby impacted companies cash flow.
You note in the article that Lorain Development Corp. is funded by three sources but to further expound that, the funds that are used is the interest earned on these business loans that have been made in the City over the past thirty years. This is interest earned on the capital base of the loan programs which offset costs of operating the programs. On average, the cost of my annual contract is about 40% of interest and fees paid. This does not include regularly scheduled principal payments or early repayment of loans.
On the Prime Industries loan, City made initial loan in 1997 to Prime Design as well as the $100K in 2000 which was repaid in full with the sale of company to the Persicos in 2002. I don’t have an amount because that file is archived, but City likely earned over $100,000 in interest on that loan during its term. Prime Industries did indeed borrow $400K for initial deal as well as $100K in 2008 so they only borrowed $500K. During this loan term, they have paid the City approximately $300K which includes around $165,000 in interest and fees.
All lending institutions have these issues which is sometimes the primary source of repayment (cash flow) is inadequate to repay loans and we then need to look to secondary source of repayment which is typically the collateral and that is buildings. No lending institution wants to have to take back a building but sometimes it is necessary to recoup loans funds to preserve as much as possible but again not always likely particularly with where building values have gone lately.
We will continue to do economic development in hopes of growing the City, which is just like a business. The City needs cash flow to operate and its main source of revenues in payroll withholding taxes. As we create additional job opportunities, it should lead new or expanded payroll in which the City would realize additional tax revenues. As revenues grow, it allows for additional opportunities or to maintain what we already have.
As I look at your analogy of old rope being put into ships, I’m sure that even those patches needed to be replaced again and again and sometimes entire planks needed to be replaced and when ships were so old, they were likely taken out of service. Not to worry, I’ll bet they replaced them with new ships. The City and economic development can be thought of in the same vein. When businesses begin to fail and leave, we try and replace them with another business and that sometimes needs a more comprehensive repair to keep the building usable. Buildings do have shelf lives and sometimes just need to be replaced in whole. Sometimes it’s best to replace one building with another. This is our City and I want to work in my time here to leave it a better place than when I got here.
Potential business loans can either be a request from an existing business (looking to expand or grow) or new business to the City. There are many different ways people track me down about programs. Sometimes it’s just looking at City website; contacts from within City like through Mayor’s Office, Community Development, now Building Housing and Planning; referrals from Team Lorain County (county economic development arm) or Lorain County Community Development; Lorain Port Authority or referrals from others businesses I have worked with. It is sometimes just a cold call a business is looking for assistance. While the loan program is a major part of LDC, I do work on other projects that sometimes do not involve City loans. Sometimes I simply act as a business liaison to help answer questions.
A lot of calls I take, people are simply asking about loan programs and any other incentives. Most cases this is a simple explanation of the programs of how they work and what is required. A large percentage of these calls usually end without ever hearing back from them. There are some that take it further and I usually sit down and meet with some to further discuss the programs and the process. I usually get more specific information from these people on their plans for a business.
In most cases, I ask about their business plan and in many instances, the plan is in their head but not on paper. This is where I inform them that before filing out an application, they should complete a written business plan as a way to see if the business will generate sufficient funds to operate as a going concern. At times, people realize that it is more costly to operate a business when they begin doing their financial projections as they realize the number and amount of expenses necessary to run a business.
There is help for people through Ohio’s Small Business Development Centers
http://www.scacog.org/Home.aspx which help people put together business plans that they can use to identify the sources of funding their business to match up against the use of business funding. The business plan gives them a blueprint for they will need to open and operate their business and gives the funding sources an idea of the individuals understanding of the business to determine whether they understand all of the factors involved in starting up a business as well as the continual operation.
When a business plan is ready, I provide an application which is submitted with the business plan and financial statements and projections.
The programs we use has a funding breakdown of 60% private financing like banks; 30% city loan funds and 10% owner’s equity. While we only require 10% equity, we typically like to see additional resources available to owner’s if the need arises. In these situations, the City is typically a second mortgage lender behind the Bank’s first. We require personal guaranty of debt by business owner’s and sometimes require additional collateral by owner’s.
Each project is somewhat unique so there is no standard answer. Once I have received completed information, I review the package and look to see the feasibility of the project. Does it make sense, are the numbers realistic, is there a need for the services or products in the area. If everything makes sense,
(1)I prepare a loan write-up that provides a background of the project with financial information and the justification for approving the loan.
(2)Once I have completed, I provide this to the loan board for their review and approval.
We do this process just like bank’s credit teams do and have discussion and if everything is okay, loan approves the credit. They can also reject loan requests or modify them though these do not happen too often.
The loan board are various professionals in insurance, banking, law, small business owners, etc. who all live in, work in or own businesses in the City of Lorain. This board has been a self-appointing board since its inception and they are not appointed by administration or council. Board tries to keep a mix of professionals on board so it is not all bankers or attorneys but a mix. They are an all-volunteer board and most of these individuals have been on board from a few years to one person who has been on board since inception over 25 years ago.
Once the board approves the loan credit, all loans are submitted to Board of Control for approval as they will eventually sign for the loan.
Once board of control approves, we move to documentation of loan with all documents reviewed and approved by City’s Law Department. At that time, we also open a purchase order to commit money and submit check requests when we receive necessary documentation requesting funds.
Loans are derived from two sources, one through HUD http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD and the other through the Economic Development Administration.
All loans come from the dedicated accounts that are solely set aside for this purpose. Since I have been here in 2000, the City has deposited no new funds into these accounts, we simply recycle the payments we receive from existing borrowers. This is why they are called revolving loan funds as we only provide loans to the extent there is money available in these accounts.
Monthly payments made are broken down into principal and interest payments. We have a dedicated loan system that tracks these payments and the breakdown. The contract LDC has with City is derived from the interest payment made by borrowers to the City. By having more interest than expenses, the City has grown the capital base of the RLF portfolios.
A few of the good examples are:
Larger: would be Camaco which was a startup with a 60,000 s.f. building and has continually grown to about 200,000 s.f. and employees about 400 people. Camaco has paid back all of its loans and currently has no obligations to the City.
A medium size business could be Trademark Global, who was also the first company out at Ford plant. They went from a 40,000 s.f. building in Avon to 100,000 s.f. at Ford and grown further to 150,000 s.f. We have made some small loans to them for equipment and all of those have been repaid in full.
A smaller business could be my first loan I made in 2000 with the Castro brothers who own Scorchers. They took two old tired buildings and transformed them into a single watering hole that has become a fixture. They are less than one year from repaying their loan with the City. If you have a chance, please visit Wil and Dennis Castro at Scorchers and ask them about this program. There are others who have had varying degrees of success.
I like to think that we have been moderately successful in that we have more money each year to lend as a result of good loans though we do occasionally have hiccups like any lender.
I know this is longer than what you were hoping for, but I want to make sure that everyone understands this is sometimes a long process to earn a loan approval, that these loans are just not handed out like candy at Halloween. The City can only continue to offer this program if we have funds to lend. Not only do we need to grow as a City but we need to grow as a County and as a region.
Words – I like words – I don’t like grammar (as regular readers have sussed http://www.thefreedictionary.com/sussed – but I do like words .
I like the origin of words and sayings.
MONEY FOR OLD ROPE –
Rope made from hemp had a limited lifetime. When it wore out it was picked apart and recycled. It was used for caulking. Rope fibres (known as oakum) were hammered into the seams between planks of a ship and hot pitch was poured over it. This was done to waterproof the ship. Of course you got money for the old rope. The phrase came to mean money for anything (seemingly) worthless.
It takes a great deal now to get me out of my lethargic and apathetic state. Mostly, I read the news of Lorain and elsewhere and shrug. Been there done that – tried to fix it- and the scum still rises to the top of the pond .
Stagnant , anchored in apathy, every once in a while my previous curiosity will surface. Last week was one such occasion -I noticed in the reading of City Council Meetings March 16th – an ordinance passed by all members of city council, with very little discussion with the Director, Doug Rangel- of the Lorain Development Corporation-
http://www.cityoflorain.org/economic_community_development/lorain_development_corporation which is funded by three sources ( basically coming back to we, the taxpayer)
NOTE: A follow up post explaining how Lorain Development Corporation operates will be the next post on this blog
The exchange between council and Director Rangel can be found here- page three
pertaining to a property found at 1817 Iowa Avenue- Prime Industries.
Unfortunately I remembered $100,000 dollars with much hoopla being given to Prime Industries. http://www.loraincounty.com/manufacturing/feature.shtml?f=12666
and media success stories such as the Morning Journal article October 2010- ALL “SOUNDED” VERY PROMISING
Local customers include amusement park Cedar Point, which turns to Prime Industries for safety harnesses for its gravity-defying rides.
In addition to making new parts for Cedar Point, Prime Industries refurbishes safety harnesses after thousands of roller-coaster passengers have worn them out…..
… Other local customers include Invacare Corp., in Elyria; Bettcher Industries, in Florence Township; Nordson Corp., in Westlake; and Latanick Equipment Inc., in Huron. Prime Industries also makes parts for missiles built by Lockheed-Martin for use by U.S. armed forces in Iraq. With more than 500 customers, the company started as a division, called Advanced Foam and Plastics, of Kindt-Collins Co., based in Cleveland
The headline is a bit misleading( prospers???) because halfway through the article the history states:
Advanced Foam and Plastics was created to serve the foundry industry, but by 1984 it was known as Prime Design.
In 1997, Prime Design received $292,000 from Lorain to relocate here from Cleveland, creating 22 jobs.
A $100,000 loan from the city in 2000 helped expand, but by 2002 Prime Industries was up for sale
First, Rich and Joe Persico paid off the $292,000 loan from 1997, and then put up $145,000 of their own capital.
“Then” the city of Lorain loaned them $400,000 and a Warren bank also loaned them $400,000 in 2002 Prime Design became Prime Industries.
In May 2008, Lorain loaned the company $100,000 to gain new contracts.
That is $600.000 by my calculations we have had some back in the employee income tax but still money for old rope imho.
Oh my ! the money tree that is government, because now- today- Lorain is wanting to “enter into a loan assignment agreement to accept a priority mortgage position in lieu of a guarantee to the purpose of taking back the building ( 1817 Iowa)
AND then what do we do with the building- will wonders never cease We will try and sell it , lease it to a business and try and put some shops back there.
Sourced with permission http://thecrossedpond.com/2008/11/19/pond-scum-23/
There it is again the Lorain Mantra for spending money to get money – It will bring us jobs- it will save jobs- it will promote Lorain- Money for old rope????
Let us segue back to just a couple of the buildings that we have acquired in Lorain’s downtown through similar circumstances . The belly upping of Allegiant Medical Equipment– again touted with much hoopla when it arrived:
737 Broadway – leased to a non profit The Lorain Arts Council for $350. a month.
But at least the City of Lorain doesn’t have to pay property tax on that one as it is leased to a non-profit!. Lorain gets $350 a month and the hope of visitors along Broadway.
The 770 Broadway again loans and getting it back
which was supposed to be rehabbed after the loan fiasco on that property didn’t end up with what we were told
” The company( American Demolition) will tear down part of the building and restore the interior and exterior of the remaining section. Contractor Don Buchs worked with architect Gary Fischer of Arkinetics to develop the plan for the 14,640-square-foot building.
The northwest portion of the building will be torn down to make way for tenant parking and a trash container and the south side, the retail areas along West Eighth Street, would also be demolished.
“Within weeks of buying it, we find out that it’s totally useless,” said Councilman Dan Given, D-at large.
Given called the purchase of the building by the administration of former Mayor Tony Krasienko a “debacle,” and Given had the wording of the ordinance for advertising changed so that new Service Director Robert Fowler must get Council members’ approval before signing off on any sale.
We have the money thrown at St. Joe’s old hospital
https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/02/13/st-joes-community-center-lets-get-fiscal-physical-lets-get-real/ and then
642 Broadway – again the loans , the acquiring the building. BUT the city of Lorain on this building has to pay property taxes of $12,750.00 yearly because this building houses two FOR profit tenants
Delta Pro which pays $630.00 per month- Looks like we the taxpayer are responsible for quite a bit . https://www.chamberofcommerce.com/vermilion-oh/7007905-black-river-audio-delta-productions
The other tenant is Follow the Fish – a much publicized media and county darling – an arts and events for profit business. https://www.facebook.com/FollowTheFishArtAndAdventureTrails
they are in the “business” of art , events and promotion .
Apparently they started off as a POP UP SHOP http://www.morningjournal.com/general-news/20121216/lorain-pop-up-shops-continue-business-downtown-during-holiday-season-with-videos for the holiday event of Light up Lorain– November 1st 2012 for two months and they were to pay, as the other Pop Up shops were supposed to do, the utilities ( no rent for that period) and an insurance coverage. – the lease expired on December 31- 2012-
Copy of lease conditions here
A lease follow the fish
Follow the Fish Adventure Trails(FFAAT) DID NOT, according to the city , pay the utilities for that two month period and have NOT paid any rent or utilities in the ensuring months all 28 months. The city has not received a copy of an insurance contract.
Presumably FFAAT have been earning income, one assumes, from their various fundraisers –
and fish sales and their 40% commission charge .
It would have been nice to have paid the taxpayers back for the time FFAAT have occupied the building using the space and utilities for various events and promotion of art works etc. Even if they paid the same as Lorain Arts Council $350.00 that $9,800 would have gone a long way in covering the $8,000 utility bill and the $30,000 in taxes during that time .
Follow the Fish Adventure Trails LLC latest looking for funding fundraiser, along with the Lorain County Chamber of Commerce is May 7th at the Palace Theatre
I am all for promoting Lorain and her businesses but at what cost to the taxpayer and when does losing money become acceptable?
And now back to the reason this post started Prime Industries. Curiosity as to why we were seemingly wanting a building back that had an outstanding tax bill of $184,815.82 . Doug Rangel Director of Lorain Development Corporation has been most helpful in replying to my myriad of questions as has Director of Public Building and Housing Leon Mason.
Doug Rangel answered my enquiry as to why???? :
“The real estate tax burden is one I will have to deal with and they for years had been trying to get a reduction because taxes were even higher than they are now. The loss of cash flow continued to hurt their ability to take larger jobs because while companies would say we will pay in 30 days, it would inevitably take longer. The situation that we have arrived at is not one we like to see but it is reality
More importantly, that legislation allowed me to take that first mortgage instead of going through a foreclosure and likely being wiped out. With this first and second mortgage, I can now complete foreclosure and work to recoup the dollars through a sale or lease of this property. County says its worth $818,000, though it was appraised at $2.1M years ago. Property values around here have taken a serious hit, just like homeowners. The devaluation of properties didn’t just hurt the residential market, but it also hit the commercial market as well.
What we have learned from the business environment over the past 6-8 years is that any business can be impacted even large ones though they have a better chance of surviving than the smaller ones.
This particular taxpayer understands the issues at hand BUT ( and there it is again ) when dealing with these city owned properties acquired through defaulted loans etc. I would ask can we please , when we take on these structures we at least break even when “leasing”, selling, whatever – just so it doesn’t cost us any more of “our dollars “ because as Maggie Thatcher ( like her or not) said : There is no such thing as public money, there is only tax-payers’ money.
A little over three months after my son’s death I wrote of his last Mother’s Day present to me – A small Ghost Koi
I was scared to look closer , maybe it was one of the pale goldfish , we have a couple. I couldn’t bring myself to go to the pond for a better look. I can still see my son kneeling by the pond and surreptitiously slipping in that Koi . Chris would check on the Koi every time he came home , he would ask in the hospital
“How’s the Ghost has it given up the ghost yet?”
I had told myself last summer I would look up how to keep this fish over the winter. Would I have to set up an aquarium for it?
I berated Chris for giving me that hassle and he just grinned at me again.
I got my courage up and took a deep breath and went to the pond. Yes the Ghost Koi had survived and slides silently among the gold and the dark water .
My Mother’s Day present survived and once again I saw in my mind my son’s grin
Every Spring since then I have waited for the ice and snow to melt – holding onto the hope the Koi will be there .
The disaster of taking down the Willow tree and changing the pond habitat .
The terrible cold of the winter before this when the waterfalls cracked and a temporary pipe was added to keep the water flowing in order to keep the fish alive during the bleak winter months.
This year Chris’ Dad winterized the pond once more. He insulated and wrapped the pipe, the pump and added another back up. When everything, including Niagara Falls, froze the little pond was open. His design worked , even Shadow could not be party to its demolition.
The birds that stayed, the animals wild and domestic all flocked to my little water source in order to drink and bathe. Still, I worried about the Ghost – he has become rather large- the biggest fish in the pond and will have called the pond home for 6 years.
Finally this weekend saw the end to ice , snow and frozen ground- a splash of gold and silver as the fish returned to the surface to feed and bask in sunshine – and there he was larger than ever- the reminder that love given freely that Mother’s Day reminds the world the Ghost existed and exists…….