Sheridan, Upton, and Buffalo Pursue Funding for Jobs Programs
(Gillette, Wyo.) They Wyoming Business Council Board of Directors are considering five Business Ready Community grant and loans. The town of Upton, the city of Buffalo, and the Sheridan Economic and Educational Development Authority (SEEDA) have submitted applications to the program, which provides financing for publicly owned infrastructure that promotes economic development.
The Town of Upton requests a $3 million grant and a $3 million loan to construct a 40,000 square-foot rail care cleaning and repair facility, which will be operated by Atlas Coal I, if the request is approved.
The loan will include a 20-year note with a variable interest rate starting at 0 percent, increasing by 0.25 percent every four years.
The facility will provide a range of maintenance services, including painting, cleaning, welding, and inspection. They will be able to service 9 to 12 cars per day, during a 10-hour shift.
The goals of the project are to create 57 jobs by the end of the calendar year, bringing in $3.1 million in total wages. By year six, it expects to create another 51 jobs.
The total project cost is nearly $16 million. About $10 million of that total is ineligible project costs that are funded by the Economic Development Administration.
The Wyoming Business Council staff recommends funding the request in full, contingent on a number of items, including evidence the other funding is secure.
The city of Buffalo requested a $2,844,410 grant from the Business Ready Community program to develop a business park, but the council does not recommend approval.
The city currently does not have this type of property to market and develop. The total project cost is $8.3 million. Johnson County, Wyoming Department of Transportation, and the city of Buffalo are pitching in the remainder of the total, minus the council grant funding, if approved.
However, the council staff is recommending the council not approve the request, due to lack of funding. The project did not meet priority for available funding.
The SEEDA has a much more ambitious plan and is requesting $12.6 million in grant funds to construction a 100,000 square-foot building in the Sheridan High-Tech Business Park. The structure will house “Project Enterprise,” a pseudonym for a confidential company looking to move its corporate headquarters and manufacturing facility to Sheridan.
The actual name of the company is expected to be released next month. The application describes the company as having a “world-renowned name.” It’s relocating due to a high tax burden and a regulatory environment unfriendly to business in its current location.
Project Enterprise estimates total employment at the facility to be 70 to 90 positions by the fourth or fifth year of operation in Sheridan. About 50 to 70 of those jobs will be hired locally and not relocated from its current location. Average wages will be between $60,000 and $74,000.
The total eligible project cost is nearly $15 million, and SEEDA commits $2.3 million including $322,874 in cash. Another $2 million is in in-kind match. Should Project Enterprise cease manufacturing operations, the company will be required to payback SEEDA investment funds.
Wyoming Business Council staff recommends funding in full.
The Wyoming Business Council Board of Directors is considering the applications today. Jackson Hole Airport Board and the town of Lingle also submitted applications for projects.
After reviewing the applications, the council will forward its recommendations to the State Loan and Investment Board for final approval. That board consists of Governor Mead, the secretary of the state, state auditor, state treasurer, and state superintendent of public instruction.
The SLIB will make its final decision on Jan. 18.