County Council Back $100K Gap Financing Grant

SALISBURY – Officials in Wicomico County have endorsed grant funding in the amount of $100,000 to provide gap financing for various economic development projects.

On Tuesday, the Wicomico County Council approved a request from Salisbury-Wicomico Economic Development (SWED) to accept $100,000 in grant funding from the Maryland Department of Commerce’s Maryland Economic Development Assistance Authority and Fund (MEDAAF).

Dave Ryan, executive director of SWED, said the money will be injected into the organization’s revolving economic development loan fund, which provides gap financing for new and expanding businesses in Wicomico County.

While grant funding from MEDAAF is often directed to companies for job creation and retention, Ryan said the money can also assist jurisdictions in setting up or capitalizing revolving loan funds.

“Each year I very respectfully and politely ask the department for capitalization and each year they very respectfully and politely say no,” he said. “This year they said yes, so they’ve accepted our requests for a $100,000 injection into the program.”

Ryan told the council the grant would require a one-to-one match, which will be funded through existing SWED funds.

“I require no capital injection from Wicomico County,” he said.

Councilman Matt Holloway questioned the organization’s request.
“Should you ask for more?” he said.

Ryan replied the organization’s larger request was turned down.

“I did,” he said. “They respectfully and politely said no … The cap was $250,000. We asked for $250,000 and we were pleased to get the $100,000.”

Councilman John Hall asked about the organization’s business expansion fund.

“How much do we have in the fund now?” he said.

Ryan said the fund consisted of $630,000.

Council President John Cannon congratulated SWED for receiving the grant.

“You should be glad with what you received,” he said. “I know for a fact that those funds are very hard to get.”

Ryan said the grant will help local businesses moving forward.

“I just don’t see the need to finance our local business community is going to be any less in the future than it will be now,” he said.

The council voted 7-0 to endorse the grant funding in the amount of $100,000.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.