Revolving Loan Fund Program


For More Information

Contact Columbia County Accounting
at 608.742.9645 or email


The Columbia County Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) is a flexible source of supplemental financing for businesses expanding or locating to Columbia County.  This fund was created to enable businesses to grow, create jobs, and improve the local economy.

Since its inception in 1986, the RLF has loaned almost $5.7 million to 30 Columbia County businesses.  These businesses have added jobs and additional tax dollars to the local economy.  The RLF recycles dollars, lending principal and interest repayments back to other businesses in the county for the benefit of all.

For start-up businesses or companies needing capital to expand, the RLF can help.  The RLF provides an additional source of funds when others have been exhausted and can even increase private lender interest by reducing their risk exposure.

Finance Terms & Conditions

Loan Amount – Loan amounts are always subject to availability of funds.  There is no set minimum or maximum, but generally loans should be for amounts greater than $25,000.

Interest Rate – The rate may be fixed or graduated on a fixed schedule.  In no case shall the rate be less than four percent or greater than two percent above the Wall Street Journal prime rate at time of closing.  Below market interest rates may be available.

Term – The term of the loan cannot be longer than the term of private financing.  Maximum terms are: Real Estate - 20 years; Equipment - 10 years; Working Capital - 7 years.

Collateral – Security is required.  This may include liens on business or personal assets.  Personal guarantees of the principal owners (more than 20 percent of the firm) will be required.

Repayment – A monthly repayment schedule is developed.  Interest and/or principal payments may be deferred one year if justified in the loan proposal.

Step 1: Do you qualify?

Eligible Applicants

  • Applications may be submitted by the Chief Executive Officer of any business or industry wishing to expand an existing operation or establish a new operation in Columbia County.
  • No member of the Columbia County Board or any other official, employee or agent of the County who exercises policy, decision-making functions or responsibilities in connection with the implementation of this program, is eligible for financial assistance under this program.
  • No program loans will be made which are in conflict with Section 946.13 of the Wisconsin Statutes (Private Interest in Public Contract Prohibited).
  • Applicants shall not be disqualified based on age, race, religion, color, handicap, sex, physical condition, development disability as defined in s. 51.01(5), sexual orientation or national origin.

Eligible Activities

Program loan shall be available to eligible applicants for the following activities:

  • The acquisition of land, buildings, and fixed equipment.
  • Site preparation and the construction or reconstruction of buildings or the installation of fixed equipment.
  • Clearance, demolition, or the removal of structures or the rehabilitation of buildings and other such improvements.
  • The payment of assessments for sewer, water, street, and other public utilities if the provision of the facilities will directly create or retain jobs.
  • Working capital (inventory and direct labor costs only).

Ineligible Activities

Program loans shall not be available for the following activities:

  • Acquisition of rolling stock.
  • Refinancing.
  • Soft costs such as design, promotional activities and legal fees.
  • Reimbursement of any project expenses incurred prior to date of County loan closing.
  • Specialized equipment that is not essential to the business operation.
  • Residential building construction or reconstruction (unless such reconstruction is intended to convert the building to a business or industrial operation).
  • Routine maintenance.
  • Professional services such as feasibility and marketing studies, accounting, management services, and other similar services.  Legal services incurred in the closing of a RLF loan are eligible.
  • Other activities that the Loan Review Committee may identify during the administration of the program.

Ineligible Businesses

Program loans shall not be available for the following businesses:

  • Speculative investment companies.
  • Real estate investment companies.
  • Lending institutions.
  • Gambling operations.
  • Non-public recreation facilities.
  • Other businesses not serving the interests of the Community.

Minimum Requirements

To be eligible for funding, the proposed project must meet all of the following minimum requirements:

  • Private Funds Leveraged – The application must leverage a minimum of one dollar of private funds for every one dollar of RLF loan funds requested.  Matching funds that cannot be disbursed at the time the County funds are needed may be utilized and justified at a later point during the project.  (i.e. County funds are needed to purchase a building.  Matching funds are for working capital, which would come later.)
  • Cost per Job Created – At least one full-time permanent position must be created or retained for every $20,000 requested.  At least 51 percent of jobs created will be made available to persons of low to moderate income as defined by the Federal government.  The Committee may require lower job costs where warranted, (i.e. taking into consideration the type of jobs, hourly wage, etc.)
  • Financial Feasibility and Business Viability – The applicant must demonstrate that the proposed project is viable and the business will have the economic ability to repay the funds.  Collateral must be available.
  • Location – Activities financed under the Program must be located within Columbia County.
  • Low and Moderate Income (LMI) Jobs – The project shall provide increased permanent employment or will retain existing jobs, which would have been lost locally.  Of the jobs created or retained by the project, at least 51 percent of these jobs must be made available to low to moderate income persons, (as defined by household incomes published by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development and available through the Wisconsin Department of Commerce).  Posting open jobs with the Columbia County Job Service fulfills this requirement.
  • Compliance with Applicable Laws – Applicants shall comply with all applicable local, state, and federal laws and codes.
  • Project Timeline – Project cannot start until Columbia County has reviewed/approved the loan.  Columbia County does not refinance project expenditures.
  • Project Completion – Projects shall be completed within 24 months from the date of the loan approval.  Applicants shall provide the County a project implementation schedule not exceeding 24 months for project completion and job creation and maintain the positions created for 2 years.  A 1-2 year extension may be granted by the RLF Committee if business conditions warrant.

Step 2: Complete an Environmental Assessment Form

Completion of this questionnaire is:

  • Mandated by (National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for all projects, which are not exempt or categorically excluded.
  • Necessary to determine whether projects will or will not have a significant impact on the human environment.

Environmental Assessment Form.

Step 3: Complete the Application

Assistance in completing this application is available at:

Columbia County Economic Development Corporation
112 East Edgewater Street
Portage, WI 53901
Phone:  608.742.6161

Step 4: Mail/Deliver the Applicaiton

The completed application can be mailed or delivered to:

Columbia County Accounting
Lois Schepp, Comptroller
112 East Edgewater Street
P.O. Box 473
Portage, WI 53901-0473

Step 5: Process, Review & Approve the Application

Preliminary Review – Administrator and staff will review the application for completeness and verify that the proposed project meets the minimum requirements.  All parts of your application will be reviewed and formatted for committee review.  During this process, you will be contacted.  More information may be requested.  A determination will also be made if sufficient collateral exists, to warrant further project review by the committee.

Formal Review – The Columbia County Revolving Loan Review Committee will review the application.

Negotiation of Terms – The RLF Committee will negotiate terms for inclusion in the loan agreement.

County Board Approval – The full Columbia County Board must approve all loans.

Notice of Award – If the application is approved, a closing will be scheduled to execute the necessary loan documents.

Rejection of Award – If application is not approved, the Administrator will send a letter to the applicant stating reasons and possible remedies.

Printable Version

Citizen Participation Plan