On Tuesday, state and local economic development officials announced the relaunch of the Windham County Economic Development Program. The program is tasked with promoting jobs in Windham County, using funds promised to the state from the Vermont Yankee shutdown.
The program is funded by $10 million over five years that was part of a settlement negotiated in 2013 between the Shumlin administration and Entergy regarding the shutdown of the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant, in Vernon. That money was earmarked “to promote economic development in Windham County.”
Last December, the Shumlin administration tasked the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and the Windham County Advisory Council with redesigning the program "to ensure more regional input and participation and a more efficient program that ensures job creation and economic transformation in the region," according to the relaunch announcement.
The advisory council is made up of representatives from the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategy (SeVEDS), Windham Regional Commission, the Vermont Small Business Development Center, Vermont Ecomonic Development and the towns of Brattleboro, Wilmington, Rockingham and Vernon.
“This redesign is responsive to suggestions from the region," said Pat Moulton, secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development. “The new process enables funding to work at the speed of business and be targeted at transformative investments in the local economy.”
According to the announcement, program funds are available for projects that advance the regional comprehensive economic development strategy through:
- Direct loans to businesses, offering special rates and terms.
- Competitive grants to organizations responding to an annual Request for Proposals that will define eligible applicants and the types of projects to be funded each year.
- Loan incentives, which are part of “rapid response” incentive packages offered by the state, region, and municipalities for the retention and creation of jobs by regional employers or new employers.
- Non-competitive grants from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development to partners that will market and help administer the program.