Polk County (Iowa) supervisors have delayed a vote on a nearly $600,000 interest-free loan to the Iowa Genealogical Society. Supervisors had agreed in principle last week to loan the Society enough money for the organization to pay off its mortgage, which had cost the small volunteer group more than $100,000 in interest since 2003. However, this week some county supervisors expressed doubts.
Supervisors were also concerned what would happen if the organization fell short on its fund raising. "If they don’t make good on the loan, we’re in a position where we’d have to throw them out," said Supervisor Robert Brownell, "Nobody wants that."
Polk County devotes about $10 million a year in gambling revenues to nonprofits and economic-development ventures, some of which gets re-loaned to new recipients when the county gets repaid.
County officials initially considered charging the Genealogical Society a small interest rate. However, the Iowa Genealogical Society's proposal was for zero interest. Under the proposed agreement with the county, the society would repay the $565,000 loan over 10 years, with the bulk due in 2017.
The group's primary income is its $30 annual memberships and copying fees for use of its library's copying machines.