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WCEDP loan/grant applications will be made available soon

BRATTLEBORO—Entrepreneurs, businesses, nonprofits, and municipalities interested in applying to the Windham County Economic Development Program (WCEDP) will have 60 days to submit applications.

According to Patricia Moulton, secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, the agency plans to release application materials within two weeks.

Moulton said during presentations on the program last week that the funding priorities for projects receiving WCEDP money include projects that create high-paying jobs, leverage other funding sources, link to objectives listed in the regional CEDS (Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy) document, and lead to long-term, sustainable economic opportunity.

The agency has not decided its ratio of funding loans vs. grants, she said.

Moulton added that the state will not use any of the $10 million from Entergy to fund its program administration.

The WCEDP also caps at about 10 percent each year the total that can go toward administration, marketing, or studies at the local level.

Money from the WCEDP revolving loan fund is earmarked for Windham County in perpetuity.

Applications will go to the Vermont Economic Progress Council (VEPC) for review, said Moulton. VEPC will also call upon sister agencies to provide review and input.

“These are folks for whom it is not their first time at the rodeo,” said Moulton of the VEPC board.

The Vermont Economic Development Authority will underwrite the revolving loan program because it has the knowledge, network, and staff to support loan programs, she added.

Reviewers will score the applications and recommend which projects should receive funding. The governor has final say on which projects receive funding.

To qualify, projects must take place within Windham County and benefit its economy and workforce, said Moulton.

Application reviewers will consider whether:

• The project creates or retains jobs, especially those paying above-average wages.

• The project is “shovel-ready.”

• The project is likely to generate a good return on investment.

• The applicant is leveraging other funding sources.

• The project is likely to leave Windham County in a better position for future economic development and opportunities.

• The project is sustainable.

• The project assists those affected by VY’s pending closure, particularly former plant employees.

• The project conforms to goals set by other region or town plans.

• The project’s outcomes are measurable.

Applicants also must present a recent audit or financial statement and organizational and project budgets.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #263 (Wednesday, July 16, 2014). This story appeared on page C4.

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