By L. Michael Treadwell
Operation Oswego County and the Oswego County Industrial Development Agency administer a variety of programs and initiatives for manufacturing companies, large and small, seeking financial and real estate development assistance for a project.
Operation Oswego County (OOC) is a Small Business Administration (SBA) certified development corporation and is authorized to finance projects using the SBA 504 loan program, which is designed to promote economic development growth and job creation in small businesses.
The program can make the overall financing structure of a new or expanding manufacturer more attractive and affordable. The SBA 504 program provides accessible, fixed-rate, long-term financing for land, buildings, and equipment. This program is available to companies with less than 500 employees and can finance up to 40% of fixed assets up to $5.5 million, with minimum job creation and maintenance requirements. This program is attractive due to the company’s low equity requirement of 10%, allowing up to 90% financing between the SBA and a participating bank.
For very small manufacturing businesses, whose owner has completed the Micro-Enterprise Training Program (MEP), there is the MEP loan. This financing program is ideal for very small businesses with five or fewer employees. This program can fund up to $25,000 in business expenses and can be used for a variety of uses, including real estate, machinery, equipment, and working capital. If an eligible manufacturing project requires a larger financing pool, the MEP loan can be used in conjunction with other financing options. This program is administered by Oswego County IDA (COIDA).
COIDA also administers several Economic Development Fund (EDF) programs that have been designed to create and retain jobs through the expansion of existing businesses or the creation of new businesses, to increase the county tax base, to to help diversify the county’s economic base and to improve the quality of life in Oswego County. COIDA FED financing can be used to purchase machinery and equipment, inventory or to provide working capital. When used to purchase machinery and equipment, the funds are usually structured in the form of a lease. Funding for EDF programs is between $50,000 and $250,000, but can be lower depending on need.
Examples of manufacturing companies that have received COIDA EDF funding include: K&N’s Foods USA in Fulton; HealthWay Home Products in Richland; United Wire Technologies in Constantia; Universal Metal Works in Fulton; Marmon Enterprises in Williamstown; Design Concepts and Businesses in Hastings; and R&D Design and Associates at Schroeppel.
Another loan program used by COIDA is the USDA Intermediate Loan Program (IRP). The IRP program offers short-term, fixed-rate loans. It is a unique program that was capitalized by the agency borrowing funds from the United States Department of Agriculture and onlending those funds to eligible companies. Similar to the SBA 504 program, IRP requires a minimum of 10% equity in the project and IRP funds cannot finance more than 50% of the project cost. IRP loan proceeds can be used to purchase machinery and equipment, inventory, or to cover incidentals, start-up costs, and working capital. Loans can be made with IRP funds as small as $20,000 and up to $250,000. The IRP funding program is intended for more rural areas of Oswego County outside of the towns of Oswego and Fulton.
Local manufacturers who have used the IRP program include Designer Hardwood Flooring in Williamstown; Fulton Tool at Fulton; Universal Metal Works in Fulton; and D&D Logging & Lumber in Palermo.
COIDA may also provide financial assistance to qualified candidate manufacturing companies in the form of issuing tax-exempt or taxable tax bonds or participating in operating lease transactions for the purpose of conferring property tax, sales tax and use and/or mortgage registration tax. exemptions. These tax incentives are known as payment in lieu of tax, or PILOT for short. The duration of the benefit value of property tax abatement for manufacturing projects under the Uniform Tax Exemption Policy of COIDA is 20 years.
Manufacturers who have used the agency’s operating lease transaction incentives to grow and expand their business or establish a business in Oswego County include: Novelis Corporation in Scriba; Huhtamaki in Fulton; EJ USA at Schroeppel; Felix Schoeller at Richland; LeRoi in Oswego; Pathfinder Industries in Fulton); and SAM North America at Schroeppel.
OOC offers technical assistance to manufacturing companies wishing to apply for NYS Consolidated Financing (CFA) through the CNY Regional Economic Development Council. This single application allows applicants to access multiple sources of state funding, including Empire State Development Grants and the Excelsior Tax Credit Program. Currently, round 12 of the CFA is open for applications until 4 p.m., July 29.
These programs help provide the means for eligible Oswego County businesses, large and small, to get the financing and incentives they need to grow and grow. The programs can also be used to help a business stay competitive, helping to keep and maintain jobs in the county.
In an effort to further support manufacturing growth in Oswego County, COIDA developed plans and purchased land at the former Nestlé site in the town of Fulton for a manufacturing start-up facility. It will house one or more small manufacturers at any given time and provide space for them to establish themselves or expand. The intent is for them to graduate from the startup facility and expand into their own building in Oswego County.
COIDA also contributed to the continued growth of manufacturing in Oswego County by purchasing 185 acres of land adjacent to the existing Oswego County Industrial Park in the town of Schroeppel. The purchase doubled the size of the industrial park, which was almost at capacity, and will provide the space and infrastructure needed for larger industrial projects.