SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Economic and Educational Development Authority Joint Powers Board approved $22,000 for grant-writing management to expand Vacutech at the High Tech Business Park during its meeting Tuesday.
City of Sheridan Planning Director Robert Briggs said the project, which was brought to him by the Wyoming Business Council, will be similar to the 2014 proposal that also expanded Vacutech. He said the building proposed would be about 40,000 square feet and is nearly identical to the existing facility with the exception of administrative offices.
Briggs said the estimated cost of construction is $4.5 million. He said the Business Council suggested a finance package that consists of $3 million in grant funds as a business committed project and a $1.5 million loan.
Briggs said Vacutech would deed the vacant land they own to the SEEDA board, and the grant and loan would pay for construction of the facility. Vacutech would then lease the building from SEEDA, and that would not only allow them to pay off the loan, but would also be a source of revenue for SEEDA.
He said after five years, which is the minimum period on the grant, Vacutech would have the option to purchase the building from SEEDA.
Briggs said business committed grants such as this involve a high level of commitment from the business and require it to confidentially submit all financials and business plans to the Business Council for evaluation.
He said the business also has to commit to a number of jobs provided and said currently is expecting to create 30 to 40 jobs.
The expansion will allow Vacutech to do all its production on one site, as opposed to having parts of its process completed at remote facilities as it currently does, Briggs said.
The main concern with the project is whether or not county property taxes will be paid on the building once SEEDA owns it.
City Administrator Mark Collins said since SEEDA is a public entity, as far as he understands the building would not be paying property tax. He said these issues sometimes go to court or the State Assessment Board, and it all comes down to interpretation.
Northern Wyoming Community College District President Dr. Paul Young said while the school has properties that are taxable because a commercial entity is using them, this is an issue the board needs to look into before the final vote.
Young also said whether it’s through SEEDA or another avenue, there needs to be more information for other employers and industries to make them aware of the financial opportunities that are available to them.
The motion passed also allows each entity to now seek approval on resolutions from their respective boards. If those resolutions pass, the grant application will still need one final approval from the SEEDA board before being submitted to the Business Council.
By Chelsea Coli|May 25th, 2017