County looks to offer subsidy to manufacturer

Anoka County is working with other agencies on a financial assistance package to try and entice a manufacturing company to locate in the county.

The Anoka County Board Jan. 22, on the recommendation of its Intergovernmental and Community Relations Committee, approved a county business subsidy for the project.

According to Karen Skepper, county director of community and government relations, the subsidy may be a combination of a low interest loan and/or grant with the final amount to be determined by the total number of jobs created.

The county is working with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), Greater MSP and the city in which the company is considering locating to pull together the financial assistance package, Skepper said.

“The company currently has a presence in Anoka County,” she said.

But it has other locations in multiple states, Skepper said.

The company’s expansion plan, for which it is interested in locating in Anoka County, is proposed in two phases, according to Skepper.

The first phase would be to bring in an existing product production line, while the second phase would create a new product production line, Skepper said.

Under its proposal, if it decides on Anoka County for the plant, the company would bring 55 new jobs to the county with salaries in the $60,000 a year range, she said.

“The company has identified a location in Anoka County as well as one or two other sites in other states,” Skepper said.

“We are expecting to hear any day now whether it will locate in Anoka County.”

The county’s share of the assistance package will come from its economic development revolving loan program, according to Skepper.

This is only the second time that the county has approved a business subsidy, Skepper said.

The other occasion was 11 years ago when it worked with the state’s Minnesota Investment Fund to come up with a financial package that kept a Coon Rapids business in the county that was threatening to move, she said.

Through that process, the county was able to keep $100,000 of the loan payments and with interest over the years, the revolving loan fund account now totals about $150,000, Skepper said.

“Our business subsidy program has tough standards to meet,” she said.

The county is a member of Greater MSP and Anoka County Board Chairperson Rhonda Sivarajah serves on its board of directors.

Greater MSP is a private-public partnership committed to stimulating economic growth and prosperity in the Minneapolis-St. Paul region, according to its website.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]