Company inquires about loan incentive program


By Zach Spicer | The Tribune

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Twice in the past 12 years, an industry choosing to come to Seymour has benefited from a local loan incentive program.

Jim Plump, executive director of Jackson County Industrial Development Corp., recently told the Seymour Redevelopment Commission he’s in the final stretch of trying to finalize another new company coming to the city.

That company is interested in benefiting from the Economic Loan Incentive Program-Seymour, also known as ECLIPSE.

This program, developed 15 years ago by JCIDC, provides a cash loan to help offset startup costs based on job creation. Loan proceeds come from tax increment finance or economic development income tax funds, and the amount of the loan is tied directly to the number of new jobs (permanent full-time positions) and wages.

“We may be coming back to you sooner as opposed to later for approval for the first loan for a company,” Plump said to the redevelopment commission.

“We would come back with more details,” he said. “We will never ask you to do this without being in position to announce who the company is, what they are going to do, people they are going to hire. We won’t have you commit to anything until we can tell you everything we know about the company. Total transparency.”

Existing and new industrial companies are eligible to apply, provided the applicant creates at least 25 new jobs. An applicant is eligible to apply for a loan based on the number of employees who live in Jackson County.

The program is designed as a forgivable loan. The period of time for jobs to be created

would be determined for each project, although generally, the period of time would be between one and three years, and terms of the loan also would be determined for each project.

Each year, the company would submit a compliance form to the redevelopment commission and city council to show jobs created, wages and residency of employees.

Based on compliance, the city boards would approve loan forgiveness for that year. If not in compliance, the company could be required to make that year’s loan payment. The interest rate would be determined per project as part of the terms.

Initially, the loan amount ranged from $500 per job paying a minimum of $25,000 per year to $2,500 per job paying in excess of $65,000.

Over the years, that has been modified, and Plump said he proposes it being modified even more.

“More and more, as we look for higher paying jobs to attract, I kind of use the 6% rule,” he said.

That would result in jobs paying $80,000 a year being worth an incentive of $5,000, jobs paying $100,000 a year being worth an incentive of $6,000, jobs paying $125,000 a year being worth an incentive of $7,500 and capping it at jobs paying $150,000 a year being worth an incentive of $10,000.

“I don’t think this is anything we want to put as the absolute end all,” Plump said, noting an amendment was made during negotiations with Pet Supplies Plus when that company received an ECLIPSE loan in 2012 to relocate its warehousing operations to Seymour.

Trellis Earth is the other Seymour industry that has benefited from the ECLIPSE program. That was in 2014 when it acquired the assets of bioplastics company Cereplast Inc. and was ready to restart the manufacturing facility with an improved business plan. Today, that company is known as Alterra Plastics.

Both of those industries are in the Eastside Industrial Park.

After Plump spoke during the recent meeting, redevelopment commission member Nate Tormoehlen asked Plump how many employees the new company would have.

All Plump would say is “I have a ballpark idea.”

“We look forward to hearing from you in the not-too-distant future,” Tormoehlen said.

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