Council denies relocation loan for thriving business
by Nick Rappley | Patterson Irrigator
Feb 06, 2014 | 1778 views | 0 0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Citing economic concerns as well as setting a precedent of loaning money to businesses, the Patterson City Council denied a request for a relocation loan from city reserves to Advanced Linen Service.

The relocation loan would have helped Advanced Linen Service maintain their current production rate while facing the burden of relocating elsewhere.

Advanced Linen Service, currently at the corner of South Del Puerto Avenue and El Circulo, has rapidly outgrown its current location and recently closed escrow on a new plant on the 200 block of Orange Avenue in Patterson.

Carts of linen pour out along the sidewalks of their current location and delivery trucks dot the nearby streets.

Business partners Gordon Hickman and Eleazar Garza approached the city Nov. 19, 2013 to discuss the possibility of securing a loan of $135,000 to help their business transition from their current location to the Orange Avenue facility.

Hickman said banks were unwilling to pay for the transition or the real estate transaction to purchase the building and land of their new facility. Similarly, City Council turned down the loan request, stating that the economic conditions were tight.

Council unanimously shot down the idea after they noted that $700,000 in redevelopment money was taken by the state of California in 2012. They also added that a policy for business loans is not currently in place at this time.

“Maybe not now,” said Councilwoman Deborah Novelli. “I think we’re not there yet.”

With $1.2 million in a reserve fund set aside for capital projects within the city, but several pressing needs on that account, councilmembers said they weren’t comfortable creating a loan out of that fund currently.

“The city of Patterson was robbed by the State of California,” Councilman Dominic Farinha said, noting that redevelopment money would have been a great use for a loan such as the request by the owners of Advanced Linen Service.

With the loan, the transition would’ve taken six months or less to move from one location to the other without stunting their progress. Now the transition could take more than a year and hurt their current growth pattern. The company employs 74 people — including 58 within walking distance of the company.

Hickman said outside the meeting he didn’t want to comment on the decision other than he was disappointed and wasn’t sure if the company could make the tough transition in time.

Citing the fact that it was the first time a company had come to the city for such a loan and without a firm policy in place, Mayor Luis Molina said he couldn’t support the loan.

Molina said, “I could say yes to a dialogue about a loan, but I can’t say yes without a policy in place.”

Nick Rappley can be reached at 209-568-9975 or nick@pattersonirrigator.com.
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