GALLIPOLIS — Some changes have been made in a program that will allow businesses to take advantage of $127,000 in grant funding for economic development projects in Gallia County this fiscal year.
The funding, recently allotted to the county by the Southern Ohio Agricultural Community Development Foundation (SOACDF), has been made available for businesses seeking to complete projects related to economic development in the county.
According to Gallia County Economic Development Director Melissa Clark, the chairperson for the local review committee for this project, the grant will allow individuals to apply for up to 35 percent of their project cost.
Also, as the grant program is centered around job creation/retention, a maximum of up to $10,000 will be awarded to those that receive funding for each year-round, full-time job created as a result of the project.
As with previous years, Clark reported that the SOACDF will award funding to projects relating to capital improvements, fixed assets or land acquisition where the end purpose is for manufacturing, distribution, warehousing or health care.
New to the 2013 fiscal year, however, has been the broadening of the program to include applications for certain technology, research and development projects, and/or innovative type projects that foster job creation as well as capital improvements in marketable industrial/commercial sites that foster job creation or retention.
“It’s a great program and I would like to see, especially since they broadened what they’ll fund, more applications come in,” Clark said. “Everything is on a first-come, first serve basis. We’re accepting applications immediately.”
An additional change in the program this year, according to Clark, has been the distribution of the remaining funds not utilized by the nine counties in the region who are allotted funding through the program.
Traditionally, applications are received by each respective county from July 1 to the following May for that fiscal year ending June 30.
This year, Clark reported that applications will be taken by her agency through January 1, 2013, and any remaining funds left over from the allocated $127,000, will be placed into a “pot,” so-to-speak, along with unused funds from the other counties in the region. Businesses across the region who apply for funding between February 1 and April 1, 2013, will then compete against one another for the remaining funds.
During the last fiscal cycle, Gallia County was allotted $145,000, and, according to Clark, not all of this funding was taken advantage of by local companies. She is, however, hopeful that all of the $127,000 will be utilized this year and Gallia County companies that apply after January 1, will be able to pull additional funds into the county through the regional competition.
“Ideally, we spend all of our $127,000 and then we have a Gallia County project come in later — we try to get more money into Gallia County,” Clark said. “Ultimately, that would be the best-case scenario.”
The SOACDF was created by the 123rd Ohio General Assembly following the tobacco settlement agreement signed in November 1998 by the Ohio Attorney General, attorneys general of 45 other states and major American tobacco manufactures to settle state lawsuits against the tobacco industry.
The SOACDF has been charged with the mitigation of the adverse economic impact of the reduction of tobacco production in the region by replacing the production of tobacco in southern Ohio with the production of other agricultural products.
The economic development grant program through SOACDF serves the counties of Brown, Adams, Gallia, Highland, Clermont, Lawrence, Scioto, Pike and Jackson. For fiscal year 2013, $850,000 has been allocated for the entire nine-county region.
For more information or to receive an application, please contact Melissa Clark, Director of Economic Development, at (740) 446-4612, ext. 217 or email@example.com.