By Tom Dixon

September 15, 2017


Ronald Kensey

A state board charged with improving Wyoming’s economic vitality recommended an additional $12 million loan to help expand a Cody pharmaceutical company Thursday in Alpine.

The recommendation from the Wyoming Business Council Board of Directors means Cody Laboratory’s request, which company executives say will allow them to hire 18 new workers, now moves to the State Loan and Investment Board (SLIB). The governor makes final approval on Economic Development Large Project loan requests.

The SLIB originally recommended an $11 million loan for Cody Labs in October 2016. The project as it stood then was expected to create 39 new jobs. Since then, the pharmaceutical firm realized the project had potential for greater impact and approached the Business Council, the state’s economic development agency, for further support. Cody Labs asked for $22.75 million in additional funding; on Thursday, the board recommended $12 million.

All told, the increased scope of the project means Cody Labs would receive a $23 million loan to increase its production from five to 11 metric tons a year and create 57 jobs with salaries and benefits totaling $8.5 million annually.

The Business Council board also recommended a $4.2 million Business Ready Community grant and loan package to Sheridan’s local economic development organization. The Sheridan Economic and Educational Development Authority will use the money to build a 40,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in the Sheridan Hi-Tech Park. Vacutech, a company that uprooted from Colorado in 2012, will lease the building from the Sheridan economic group.

Vacutech has grown from 20 to 130 workers in the last five years. Company officials anticipate this expansion creating 76 new jobs in the next five years.

The Business Council board also moved forward a $37,500 planning grant for Guernsey to study projects that might help the town grow and diversify its economy.

The SLIB, comprising Wyoming’s five statewide elected officials, will consider each of these three projects during its 8 a.m. meeting on Oct. 5 at the Herschler Building in Room 1699 in Cheyenne.

The Business Council board is the final authority on federal Community Development Block Grants and approved $2.6 million for community improvements in Laramie and Platte counties and in Evansville, Alpine and Mills.

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 (SLIB) 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.

Business Committed 

·        Sheridan Economic and Educational Development Authority requests a $2,999,496 grant and $1,225,000 loan to build a 40,000 square-foot manufacturing facility in the Sheridan Hi-Tech Park. The facility will be leased to Vacutech with an option to purchase after five years. Vacutech has grown from 20 to 130 employees since it moved from Colorado in 2012. The company anticipates creating 76 new jobs in the next five years. (Board recommends full funding of the project as requested.)
 

Community Enhancement 

·        Newcastle withdrew its request for a $500,000 grant for the construction of a bike path, tennis courts and restroom. The city may revisit the project in the future.

Planning

·        Guernsey requests a $37,500 grant to conduct a study of projects that might help the town grow and diversify its economy. The project would help Guernsey build on past successes, coordinate with the National Guard at Camp Guernsey, improve community infrastructure, identify uses for town-owned land, promote the community’s historic assets and address housing and quality of life needs. (Board recommends full funding of the project contingent on a request for proposal that includes specific public engagement strategies, target markets and industries and draws upon previous plans.)

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT LARGE PROJECT LOAN APPLICATION 

About the Program: The Business Council provides recommendations for the Economic Development Large Project Loan program. The governor has final approval of the projects after a SLIB review. Through the program, the state treasurer is authorized to lend funds for the benefit of Wyoming businesses. The loan may finance purchase, construction and installation of buildings or equipment, which will add economic value to goods, services or resources within the state. A loan amount may not exceed an increase in assessed valuation created by a project.

·        Cody Laboratories requests an additional $22.75 million loan to expand its pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities. The company anticipates creating and additional 18 jobs. The expansion will provide a direct and indirect increase in assessed valuation of about $5.8 million annually in Park County. (Board recommends a $12 million loan.)

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT BLOCK GRANT (CDBG) APPLICATIONS 

Business Council staff review each application, conduct site visits (except for CDBG planning grants) and present projects to a board subcommittee. The Business Council board determines final awards for CDBG projects.

About the Program: The Business Council administers the Community Development Block Grant, which is a federally-funded, pass-through program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

·        Alpine requests a $500,000 grant to construct infrastructure for Alpine Park Apartments, a 24-unit development reserved for low- and moderate-income households at or below 60 percent of the area median income. (Board approved full funding of the project as requested.)

·        Evansville requests a $498,952 grant to provide better fire protection and water quality to the heavily industrial/commercial East Yellowstone Highway and Lathrop Road area. (Board approved full funding of the project as requested.)

·        Evansville requests a $500,000 grant to construct a mile-long gravel roadway to provide secondary access to the town of Evansville. (Board approved full funding of the project as requested.)

·        Mills requests a $498,857 grant to replace a 6,770-foot asbestos cement water line with a PVC pipe. (Board approved full funding of the project as requested.)

·        Laramie County requests a $500,000 grant to expand the Laramie County Meals on Wheels kitchen. (Board approved full funding of the project as requested.)

·        Laramie County requests a $40,000 grant to fund a portion of the Wyoming Family Home Ownership Program, which assists families by preparing them to be responsible homeowners. (Board approved full funding of the project as requested.)

·        Platte County requests a $70,000 grant to upgrade the county library’s elevator to meet safety codes and handicapped accessibility requirements. The mechanical room will also be updated to meet safety codes. (Board approved full funding as requested.)

 

For more information about these projects, visit the Wyoming Business Council website, www.wyomingbusiness.org, or call 1-800-262-3425.

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