(The Center Square) — Dollar amounts for economic development loans are in a bill that is directed at the governor of Vermont.
The legislature passed this week House Bill 627 which, if passed, would increase the loan amounts that can be offered through the Vermont Economic Development Authority.
According to the bill, the authority could grant loans to private companies, non-profit organizations, partnerships, an individual or a municipality to finance economic development projects.
However, according to the bill, the maximum loan amount that can be granted is $6 million for projects that would need to generate heat or electricity using biomass, geothermal, methane, solar or wind. But, if the project does not require the production of electricity, the maximum loan amount is $5 million.
According to the bill, any loan would come from the Vermont Jobs Fund and must go through an approval process. The entity seeking funding would need to file an application, which would then be reviewed for compliance with state laws and regulations, including environmental, zoning, planning, and health measures.
If the project seeking funding is a one-time loan for a municipal telecommunications plan, the highest amount to grant is $3 million.
Eligible projects, according to the bill, would include industrial, commercial or agricultural businesses that meet the criteria of the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Strategy.
Loans, under the bill, can be used to purchase land and rights to land, air, water, buildings, structures, machinery and equipment, but could not be used for retail or corporate activities related to the sale of goods produced out of state. Additionally, funding cannot be used for housing.
The scope of projects that would be eligible for funding under the bill includes quarrying, mining, manufacturing, processing, which would include further processing of agricultural products, and assembly or storage of goods or materials for sale or distribution.
The funding, according to the bill, could also be used for research and development activities, including software and telecommunications equipment. Travel and tourism projects would be eligible provided that full-time employment is maintained throughout the year.
The bill would also authorize funding for long-term care and independent living facilities, including assisted residents, a home for the terminally ill, a nursing home, residential care homes and therapeutic community residences.
Bonds can be issued, under the bill, for project costs that include the purchase of buildings, structures and facilities and the acquisition of land, air or water rights.