County approves $200,000 economic development loan
The Sussex County Council this week approved a $200,000 economic development loan to TechWorld Medicals Inc. of Milford.
Dr. James Z. Liu of TechWorld Medicals spoke with council and presented them with information about his patent-pending Dr. Healing products, including AsthmaCare Kits and ColdFlu Care Kits. Liu explained that he had just received notice from CVS Pharmacy that their more than 7,000 stores nationwide had agreed to carry his products and that he is to present his company and products to Walgreens and Rite Aid in January.
Liu told the council that there are more than 200 viruses that can cause the common cold and flu-like symptoms and getting the viruses out of the nasal passages is the key to shortening the length of time a person is sick. He explained that the company was incorporated in 1998 and said he hopes to expand production at the Milford facility, which will grow local jobs.
The loan is at an interest rate of 1 percent. County Finance Director Susan Webb explained that the County has successfully made three loans out of this fund — one to a municipality and two to private businesses, one of which is already repaid in full.
“It’s been successful to date” she said.
County Councilman Vance Phillips said he “felt uncomfortable making payments directly to businesses. Why not get your money from a bank?”
“Isn’t that what the program is for?” asked Councilwomen Joan Deaver.
“Well, I have never really been that jazzed about the program,” replied Phillips. “I think about all the other businesses that are struggling for capital...”
“Well, it is a loan, not a grant,” said Councilman George Cole. “And any of those other struggling businesses can apply.”
“I think what Vance is saying is, if you can’t pay it back, it’s just like a grant,” interjected Councilman Sam Wilson.
“It is secured with equipment and inventory, but if it goes belly-up, we’ll just have some inventory...” said Phillips.
Council President Michael Vincent said to Webb, “We can assume you have done your due diligence?”
She said she had and explained that there were 17 items that the company needed to have in place before the loan would be given, including approval by the county’s legal counsel.
“They also have [Delaware Economic Development Office] support,” she explained.
Phillips then asked Liu if he was an American citizen.
Liu confirmed that he is, saying that he has been in the U.S. for 30 years, since he was 13 years old.
“Do you live in Sussex County?” asked Phillips.
Liu said he currently lives in Pennsylvania but has plans to move to Delaware within the year, after his son graduates high school, to be closer to his company’s manufacturing operations.
“It’s too long to drive to go back and forth. We’ll live here... in six months,” he said.
The council on Tuesday also approved a conditional use request filed for Mark A. Giblin, for land north of Zion Church Road and southeast of Roxana Road in Roxana. In August, they kept the record of the hearing on the request open so County staff could visually inspect the property to see what types of businesses are being run there and also to have their legal counsel check to see if the hearing was properly advertised.
In the legal advertisement that was sent to newspapers and in the council’s packet in August, the notice of the hearing on the request read that it was to “grant a conditional use of land in an AR-1 Agricultural Residential district for a towing service and landscaping...”
The actual application is for “towing (comma) service [as in auto service], landscaping and an impound yard,” the latter of which wasn’t mentioned anywhere in the notice. P&Z had recommended approval, but with the confusion and with some opposition expressed, county council deferred action in August.
This week, they voted to approve a “towing service and landscaping business,” with conditions that Giblin put up a fence within six months and remove any disabled vehicles within 90 days. He also can only have 18 impounded vehicles on the property at one time.
They agreed that if Giblin wanted to come back, he could come back and get an amended approval for any auto-service business he had. They agreed that would be the “cleanest” way to work with the advertising issue.
A complete council packet is available online at sussexcountyde.gov.