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Supes make $60,000 loan to Prizery, ask for seat on board

SoVaNow.com / October 04, 2012
The Halifax County Board of Supervisors on Monday night approved a $60,000 loan to The Prizery, matching a $60,000 grant from the Town of South Boston that will be used to pay off a looming $120,000 debt payment for the community arts center.

The money will be used to pay off the holders of New Market Tax Credits, a portion of which funded start-up capital costs for the Prizery’s renovation.

The governing body is asking that certain restrictions be placed on the loan, including adding a member of the Board of Supervisors to the Prizery’s board of directors. It is also asking that the loan be repaid within the 12-month period ending in September 2013.

ED-5 Supervisor Barry Bank said he had found an overwhelming majority of his constituents are unwilling to support funding for the Prizery. “Why don’t you just ask each of your patrons to put up $40 each and that would take care of your problem?”

Prizery President Alison Streeter, on hand for the meeting, responded that patrons have been extremely supportive over the past years and have put up operating capital to sustain the activities of the Prizery. She presented the supervisors with figures showing the Prizery has a total of 3,166 patrons of whom 48.3 percent have a South Boston address. Of the rest, 23.5 percent have a Halifax address, and 28.29 percent live elsewhere in Halifax County.

Prizery board member Matt Leonard, who also serves as IDA executive director, explained that the $120,000 was needed to retire the debt and that the Prizery has set reorganization goals that will lead it to make money once this debt is cleared.

But Bank questioned the Prizery representatives on whether they knew the debt had to be repaid. “How come you didn’t do something earlier?” he asked.

A lady in the audience, who did not identify herself, rose to her feet to advise supervisors of her feelings on the matter. Noting that people don’t have jobs, are losing their homes and can’t afford to put food on the table, she said, “It’s ridiculous that you would pass on more debt. This is not for the poor, it’s for the rich. Let them pay for it.”

ED-4 Supervisor Doug Bowman responded, “The Prizery is a quality asset and I don’t think it would be wise to put it at risk for $60,000. It is hard to measure what the Prizery means to this community. It’s a quality of life issue with visitors and business prospects all being attracted to it. We could lose a $6 million building if the Prizery doesn’t come up with this $120,000 to repay their loan.

ED-8 Supervisor Bryant Claiborne added that he knows times are hard, but the Board has an obligation to do what’s in the best interests of the county. “We can’t see the Prizery closed,” he added.

After a lengthy discussion the Board unanimously passed the following resolution:

WHEREAS, the Prizery represents an important economic development, tourism, and historic preservation resource for Halifax County and the Town of South Boston, and

WHEREAS, the Prizery is a resource that greatly enhances the educational experience and success of the youth of Halifax County, and

WHEREAS, the Prizery is a cornerstone facility that improves the quality of life for residents of Halifax County, and

WHEREAS, the Prizery is a continuing investment of Halifax County and the Town of South Boston, with approximately $700,000 invested to date and a sum of approximately $1.2 million still to be paid in the future, and

WHEREAS, the Prizery is an asset valued at approximately $6 million with only $120,000 in remaining debt outside of that funded by Halifax County and the Town of South Boston, and

WHEREAS, in the past, Halifax County and the Town of South Boston received letters of support from the Tobacco Commission and numerous businesses and individuals, who have generously provided funding to the Prizery;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Halifax County Board of Supervisors finds that continued support for the Prizery serves public purposes, and loaning funds to the Prizery will promote these public purposes; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Halifax County Board of Supervisors extends a loan of $60,000 to the CACF, LP/Prizery to be repaid in full by September 30, 2013 without interest or fees, and which loan will be subject to the execution of a loan agreement and a note in a form acceptable to the County Administrator, and

FURTHER, the Board of Supervisors will be extended a voting position on the CACF, LP/Prizery Board of Directors, and the CACF, LP/Prizery shall update the Board of Supervisors through an appointed Loan Committee of Douglas Bowman, Bryant Claiborne and James Halasz on a no less than quarterly basis or more often as needed, and

FURTHER, the Loan Committee shall review progress of the CACF, LP/Prizery with regard to control of costs and increase in revenues as envisioned in the reorganization plan adopted by the Board of the CACF, LP/Prizery including grants, written and received, and additional fund raising efforts, and

FURTHER, the Loan Committee shall also extend recommendations to the Board of Supervisors with regard to acceleration or extension of loan repayment as may be necessary with sufficient justifications.

Given under my hand this 1st day of October, 2012.

Thomas E. West, Chairman

ATTEST:

James M. Halasz, Clerk



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Comments

A LOAN, Really???????? Tune in next year and the prizery will ask for a loan to pay the loan.

Comments

Notice the last lines....extension can be offered based on sufficient circumstances...in other words....this "loan" will not be paid back. Mark my words. In the future the BO'S will give them money in he form of grants, just the South Boston Town Council.


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