An Annapolis Junction manufacturer that sought Howard County's backing for a $900,000 state loan will receive the money to expand its business without the county's having to secure it.
In an unusual move, Marble Source Unlimited, a manufacturer of natural stone products, will be allowed to borrow the money -- without county backing -- from the Maryland Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO).
That organization, established by the General Assembly 10 years ago to help businesses get state loans, will secure the loan itself.
Normally, the state requires local governments to secure such a loan along with MEDCO. But officials with the Howard County Economic Development Authority urged the state to approve the loan without the county's backing after Howard County County Council members expressed concern about the county's becoming a creditor in the deal.
In another instance, the county had made a $900,000 loan to the Historic Savage Mill, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year. The mill has since reorganized its debt and moved out of bankruptcy.
"We recognized some great concern on the part of the Howard County Council," said Richard Story, executive director of the county economic authority. "I don't want to predict that the council would have turned us down, but we saw an opportunity to do this another way."
John J. Congedo, owner of Marble Source, wants to use the loan to expand his work force from 16 employees to 60. "This is going to be good for Howard County," he said. "We're going to employ some people and make some people really happy."