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North Clarendon factory gets grant, permits await

Part of $2.5 million in job creation incentives for six Vt. companies expected to create 327 new well-paying jobs over five years

N. CLARENDON - Part of a $2.5 million job creation grant from the Vermont Employment Growth Initiative (VEGI) will be going to a Florida-based company hoping to open a plant in North Clarendon.
Farmer Mold and Machine Works received $258,518.
"We're an automated machine builder," said company president Jim Gilmour. "We're still going through the permit process, so the announcement is a bit premature. We hope to hire about 20 employees, engineers, office personnel, and assemblers."
Farmer Mold & Machine is a global company. It makes battery assembly equipment, provides plant automation and engineering services, custom machine building and design, and has taken over the Winkel Machine Co., servicing their numerous products.
"We have customers all over the world," said Gilmour.
According to the Vermont Economic Progress Council's statement, the grants will be distributed through the VEGI program and encourage 327 new and well-paid jobs. (612 total new jobs, when non-qualifying full-time and indirect jobs are counted.) This, the state hopes, will result in $19.2 million in new qualifying payroll, and generate about $19 million in qualifying capital investments in the state through 2017. That, in turn, is estimated to bring $3.1 million in new revenue. The Council approved the applications after reviewing nine program guidelines and applying a rigorous cost-benefit analysis.
"The VEGI program continues to encourage job creation and investment that otherwise would not occur, generating new revenue to the state to support other programs," Lawrence Miller, Vermont's Secretary of Commerce and Community Development, said in a statement.
To be considered "qualifying," the company must offer full-time, permanent, staff positions that pay more than 160 percent of the Vermont minimum wage, and provide benefits. The average estimated compensation for VEGI qualifying jobs is $57,225 - well above the state average.
To earn VEGI incentives, authorized companies must meet payroll, employment and capital investment performance requirements each year between 2013 and 2017. If earned, the incentives would pay out to the companies over nine years between 2014 and 2022, only if the new jobs and payroll are maintained.
The projects will also create about $19.2 million in new qualifying payroll for Vermonters, and the companies plan to invest $19 million in qualifying capital investments in Vermont between 2013 and 2017, the state estimates. Because of the new jobs and investment, the projects will also generate $3.1 million in net new revenue to the state.
In addition to Farmer Mold & Machine, the other recipients are: Freedom Foods, Randolph: $267,762; Biotek Instruments, Winooski: $325,111;, Burlington: $1,201,850; Logic Supply, South Burlington: $352,912; and JBM Sherman Carmel, Bennington: $136,744, for a total of $2,542,897.
"We determined that these projects would not have occurred in Vermont or would have occurred in a way that generated far fewer tax dollars," said Stephan Morse, VEPC Chairman, in a written statement. "Even with this determination, companies are only paid the incentive if they meet and maintain performance requirements. The authorization of these incentives will generate over $9,564 in new tax revenue to the State for each new qualifying job created."
Gilmour said he was optimistic about opening the new North Clarendon plant soon.
"Our goal is to be open in 2014," he said, "We have to let the permit process work its way through. We're hoping for summer, 2014."
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