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Helping local businesses

By Staff | Mar 16, 2014

As part of their meeting last week, the Faribault County EDA enjoyed a tour of Herman Manufacturing in Wells. Owner John Herman, above, demonstrates some of the equipment used at the business.

The Faribault County Economic Development Authority wants to help businesses out.

To do so, they have been in the process of forming a Commercial Rehabilitation Program, with the help of the local city EDAs.

The group is currently working on their application for a grant to put toward this vision.

“We have some work to do on this,” Faribault County Development Corporation administrator Linsey Warmka says.

The EDA?held a meeting March 11 to iron out some of the details so they could finish their application.

“First we need to discuss an appropriate minimum loan amount and a maximum loan amount,”?Warmka says.

If they receive the grant, the money would have to be used within two years. This concept was brought up for discussion.

“If we are giving out $10,000 loans, that would be 20 loans we would be working with,”?she explains. The EDA?members felt that a maximum of $10,000 and a minimum of $2,500 seemed to be the most appropriate.

The next issue which needed resolution prior to completing the application was forming a Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) committee.

In order for the grant application to be considered complete, the EDA must provide the names and a short biography of each member of the RLF?committee.

“The committee has to include the EDA?coordinator, which would be me and I wouldn’t have a vote one must be from a local lending institution,” Warmka explains.

County Commissioner and EDA member Bill Groskruetz volunteered to serve on the RLF committee. Other members shared names of people Warmka should contact about filling the other two spaces.

The final topic in discussion before the application could be complete was whether or not the county EDA?should match the loan and have the other cities, who are participating, reimburse the county.

“We are asking for a $90,000 grant with a match of $110,000 from us,”?Warmka says.

The county EDA?agreed they will put the match money up front and be reimbursed by the cities.

Winnebago, Wells and Blue Earth will also be participating. The amount each EDA?is to contribute was calculated by the percentage of the population.

If the grant is awarded to the county EDA, Blue Earth would have to match $25,336, Wells would match $18,015, Winnebago would match $10,852 and the county would contribute $56,098.

On Thursday, the Blue Earth EDA agreed to set aside the $25,336 to use for this project should the application be approved.

After ironing out the details at the meeting Warmka said she would contact individuals about forming a RLF committee in order to complete the application.

The county EDA also took some time during the meeting to tour Herman Manufacturing company in Wells.

The EDA?was interested in visiting some of the different businesses in the county to learn more about the various communities.

John Herman, the county EDA chair and owner of Herman Manufacturing, took EDA members on a tour of one of the workshops.

“One thing John has said in the past is that he wants to provide permanent jobs in the area,” Groskruetz says.

The company, which has been in Wells for more than 40 years, supplies custom parts for machines and welded pieces for machinery. They employ around 35 local people.

“Keeping permanent jobs is why we have slowly built this business up over many years,” Herman explains. “We want to make sure the jobs are here to stay.”