Minority loan program could get Toledo tax dollars

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TOLEDO (13abc, Action News) - Whether it is road and housing projects or building construction, the Port Authority and the City of Toledo believe the more companies involved the better it is for the local economy.

When you go to the University of Toledo's campus bookstore, notice the carpet and tile you walk on.

A dozen workers from a local company laid that carpet and tile.

But midway through the project, Gary Johnson's company ran out of money and tapped into the Port Authority's DCAP fund...

The Diversified Contractor Accelerator Program.

Johnson says the fund's administrator says he got "$90,000 in 3 or 4 days."

That quick loan kept Gary in business.

Johnson told 13abc reporter Bill Hormann, "I used it not only to make sure I was meeting my payroll with this project I also used it to buy some of the supplies I need to finish the job."

Joe Bajas is the administrator of the DCAP fund. He says the fund was set up to rescue minority businesses that need help staying on the job or to simply get them a contract.

Bajas says the fund "allows them to bid on projects they naturally wouldn't be able to. It allows them to take on work that they wouldn't be able to."

Bajas says the program has been so effective that the $400,000 has been loaned out and paid back enough times to total nearly $3-million.

That is an indication of the amount of work that's needed. So Toledo wants to pitch in another $200,000 to make sure there's enough money in the fund to get more minority businesses involved.

Matt Sapara, the city's economic development director says, "The next few years, there's going to be a record number of construction in the community and we want to make sure that all the minority business enterprises have an equal and fair shot at participating in it."

Including small companies like Gary Johnson's which is eyeing the Promedica project and may need some help getting a contract.

"So, Joe will be seeing me when that project comes up," he says.

Promedica wants to hire 15-percent minority contractors and buy goods and services from at least 10-percent minority businesses.

And this fund is one way of making sure Promedica meets that goal but that the businesses get work that allows them to stay in business.

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