The City of Garfield applied in October, 2003 to the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) for the Job Opportunity Building Zone (JOBZ) program, which provides certain tax exemptions for qualified businesses in designated parcels. Since the city did not have land available for this program, we had discussions with LaGrande Township on the southern edge of city limits. The city applied to DEED to include a 74 acre parcel of land in LaGrande Township that is privately owned. This parcel would be designated for tax incentives under JOBZ, with the approval of the landowner and township, with the understanding the city could “swap” acres for other parcels if existing businesses wished to expand using JOBZ. The city received approval and has been working in partnership with West Central Initiative, the regional zone administrator, and the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission (AAEDC), the city’s subzone administrator.
The city was approached by GCI for a planned expansion that would take approximately two acres out of the 74 acre parcel. Prior to approving this, the city needed to adopt a business subsidy policy. GCI’s current facility does not qualify for tax breaks under JOBZ, but their expansion would. The city adopted a business subsidy policy and subsequently has approved a business subsidy agreement with GCI. The tax exemptions under JOBZ include sales tax, property tax and income tax to owners or investors.
For more information about JOBZ, go to www.wcif.org and click on the JOBZ logo.
Odyssey Steel and Trim is a new company in Garfield that occupies the former Schott Automation building on County Road 40. Odyssey manufactures steel siding and roofing for industrial and commercial buildings. The company will have two full-time employees, Leroy Buse and Randy Vroman, the owners, as well as a part-time secretary/administrative assistant. The company received assistance from the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission (AAEDC) with financing for acquisition of new machinery and equipment. In addition, the Alexandria-Douglas County Developers Revolving Loan Fund and the Greater Alexandria Industrial Network (GAIN), a fund operated under West Central Initiative, participated in the project.
Odyssey plans to hire additional employees as the company grows. They are open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. They can be reached at 330-834-2006
The City of Garfield received notice on January 10, 2002 that an application to the Minnesota Department of Trade and Economic Development (DTED) Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF) program was approved for $150,000. The MIF is a program whereby the city receives a grant and then loans out the funds to local businesses in Garfield, establishing a revolving loan fund. The city submitted the application to DTED to assist a new company, Leader Building and Supplies, with the purchase of equipment.
Leader Building and Supplies must meet certain employment and wage guidelines set by this program and make principle and interest payments back to the city over a period of ten years. The city keeps the first $100,000 of principle along with all accumulated interest. That money can then be used to assist other businesses in the city with the repayments made.
This revolving loan fund is a new endeavor for the city. The funds that are available may only be used for certain types of businesses. For details of the program and for information on the types of businesses that are eligible, please contact Sandy at city hall.