The Wyoming Business Council Board of Directors considered six Business Ready Community (BRC) grants during its March 9 meeting in Casper.
The board also considered the Business Council’s first Value-Added Agriculture Loan. The loan is a provision of the Rural Rehab Fund. The Business Council participates with a commercial lender who administers and services the loan.
The State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB) will make final decisions on BRC project requests at its 8 a.m. meeting on April 6 in Cheyenne.
Board members also heard updates on Wyoming’s air service, broadband projects, trade shows and business leads, among other reports.
Board meeting materials are available for review at http://wyomingbusiness.org/boardbook.
BUSINESS READY COMMUNITY (BRC) GRANT APPLICATIONS
Business Council staff review each application, conduct site visits, or conference calls in the case of planning grants, and make presentations to a board subcommittee before making final recommendations to the full board.
About the Program: The Wyoming Business Council administers the Business Ready Community grant and loan program, which provides financing for publicly owned infrastructure that serves the needs of businesses and promotes economic development within Wyoming communities.
The Business Council board is required by statute to forward BRC grant and loan recommendations to the State Loan and Investment Board for final approval. The SLIB is comprised of the five statewide elected officials: the governor, secretary of state, state auditor, state treasurer and state superintendent of public instruction.
- Cody requests a $748,360 grant for a 3,517 square-foot expansion of Wyoming Authentic Products’ facility. The expansion will add preparation, packaging and smoker capacity. The expansion will allow the company to add 10 jobs by 2020. Those jobs will pay about $43,180 annually, which is $10,000 above the county median. Wyoming Authentic Products expects the expansion to increase production 163 percent and grow market reach to 10,000 U.S. outlets by December 2018. (Board recommends full funding of the project.)
- Powell requests a $435,400 grant for the construction of a 3,000 square-foot light industrial manufacturing building for GT Aeronautics, along with assorted infrastructure designed to accommodate future business development. GT Aeronautics is a business recruit from California specializing in the manufacture of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The project will create three manufacturing and technology jobs in the next three years. Local officials hope to recruit additional aeronautical companies to expand commercial operations at the Powell Municipal Airport. A seven-year lease would return $717,126 in state and local tax revenue. (Board recommends full funding of this project contingent on a guaranteed five-year lease from GT Aeronautics and the owner/CEO.)
- Bar Nunn requests a $3 million grant to construct two on-ramps and two off-ramps at the intersection of Interstate 25 and Westwinds Road in Bar Nunn. Improved access from I-25 provides potential for commercial and industrial development that will add jobs and amenities to Bar Nunn. A truck stop/travel plaza is interested in locating at the proposed interchange. The interchange will also improve access to the Casper Logistics Hub, Casper/Natrona County International Airport and the Bar Nunn Industrial Park and its recently constructed 30,000 square-foot spec building. (Board does not recommend funding this project.)
- Sundance requests a $2,957,434 grant to renovate Old Stoney, a historic school building near downtown. The renovation will provide a suitable location for the Crook County Museum and Cultural Center, along with 2,400 square feet of rental space for local businesses and events. The project is expected to create six part-time jobs and retain two museum full-time positions. (Board recommends partial funding of $2,452,104 toward this project.)
- Casper-Natrona County Economic Development Joint Powers Board requests a $500,000 grant to construct a 4,068 square-foot building for maintenance, storage, equipment, guest services and restrooms on the east side of the David Street Station plaza. (Board recommends full funding of this project as requested.)
- Sheridan requests a $44,000 grant to conduct a study that identifies opportunities to increase renewable energy for the purpose of high-tech business recruitment and expansion. (Board recommends full funding of the project, as requested.)
VALUE-ADDED AGRICULTURE LOAN
Business Council staff review applications from a lead lender. The Business Council participates in the loan up to 75 percent of the project cost and shares in the risk of the loan according to its pro-rated share. The Business Council staff conducts a site visit before considering the loan. Staff then underwrites, reviews and maintains information about the company until the loan is paid in full. The loan is presented to a board subcommittee before making final recommendations to the full board of directors.
About the Program: The Value-Added Agriculture Loan is a provision of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Rehab Fund program. The Business Council participates with a commercial lender who administers and services the loan. The loan payments are submitted to the lead lender. The Business Council is repaid its portion of the loan as it performs. Once the loan is approved by the Business Council Board of Directors, the lead lender and the Business Council work together to fund the loan and administer the funds when they are required.
- Enhanced Capital requests a participation loan in the amount of $187,500 to Wyoming Authentic Products to purchase equipment for its proposed facility expansion. (Board approved full funding of this project as requested, contingent on approval of the BRC grant.)