In a Memorandum of Understanding between the State of Vermont and Entergy, the company agreed to provide $2 million per year for five years (2014-2018) to the State of Vermont “to promote economic development in Windham County.” These funds are administered by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD), in cooperation with the Windham County Economic Development Program Advisory Council (Advisory Council), though a program known as the Windham County Economic Development Program (WCEDP).
The WCEDP promotes economic development in Windham County by providing funds to stimulate job creation through business start-up, expansion, or relocation, encourage entrepreneurial activity, and strengthen the economic development infrastructure to ensure a strong foundation for transformational economic activity. The primary focus of the program is private sector job creation and retention and direct support of entrepreneurial activities, followed by support of economic development systems and activities that encourage an entrepreneurial, innovation, and business start-up environment and culture.
ACCD works with regional partners such as the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation, the Windham Regional Commission, municipalities in the region, and others to market and administer the program. A regional advisory council was formed to review letters of intent to apply and provide annual feedback on program objectives and goals. A WCEDP Project Manager was hired to provide day-to-day and local program administration, undertake marketing activities, work with potential applicants and approved projects, and ensure the program is meeting goals and objectives in the region.
PROGRAM STRUCTURE AND PROCESS
The program funds are made available through direct, low-interest loans administered in partnership with the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA), competitive grants to organizations responding to an annual Request for Proposals (RFP), and non-competitive grants and incentives. For-profit businesses must apply for loans. Non-profits and municipalities may apply for loans or competitive grants that must address activities included in the annual competitive grant RFP.
Loans: Loans can be made to for-profit and non-profit entities. Projects must meet the basic eligibility criteria for the program, determined through a Letter of Intent to Apply process, and are subject to standard loan analysis through an underwriting process by VEDA. Potential loan applicants must consult with the WCEDP Project Manager to prepare and submit a Letter of Intent to Apply, which is considered by the WCEDP Advisory Council and ACCD. Loan applications are accepted on a continuous basis as long as an LOI has been approved. Loan applications, including all required documentation and financial information, are filed directly with VEDA, who will conduct underwriting and make a recommendation to ACCD. If approved by ACCD, the loan can be closed when all required closing documents are submitted to VEDA.
Competitive Grants: Each year, the WCEDP Advisory Council determines the economic activities to be included in an RFP, which is released in the spring. The RFP includes eligibility criteria and describes the types of projects that are eligible for that round of competitive grant funding. Eligible projects may vary each year depending on the need identified by the region. Potential grant applicants must consult with the WCEDP Project Manager to prepare and submit a Pre-Application which is considered by the WCEDP Advisory Council and ACCD. If the Pre-Application is approved, the applicant must receive counseling and technical assistance from the WCEDP Project Manager to prepare and submit a full WCEDP grant application. Grant applications are filed with ACCD and will be scored by ACCD staff and reviewed by regional and state agencies. The Secretary of Commerce and Community Development will make final decisions for funding.
Non-Competitive Grants: At the discretion of the Governor and/or ACCD Secretary, ACCD will make grants to regional partners to assist with the marketing and administration of the WCEDP.
Incentives: State and regional economic development officials will work with existing and new businesses, acting quickly and creatively to enable flexible incentive packages to ensure the retention of existing jobs and the creation of new jobs in the region. These packages may include a mix of loans, grants, and repayable grants from the WCEDP combined with other federal, state, regional, and local programs such as New Market Tax Credits, USDA/RD loans and grants, the Vermont Employment Growth Incentive (VEGI) program, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG), training funds, local revolving loan funds, and municipal property tax stabilization. The incentive packages are developed in collaboration with regional partners and use of WCEDP funds require authorization by the Governor and/or ACCD Secretary.
GENERAL PROGRAM INFORMATION
COMPETITIVE GRANT INFORMATION
LOAN APPLICATION INFORMATION
Southeastern Vermont Economic Development Strategy (SeVEDS) (pdf)
SeVEDS CEDS Goals and Objectives (pdf)
Windham Regional Commission
Windham County Regional Plan (pdf)
Municipal Information and Links to municipal plans
Municipal Points of Contact (pdf)
Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC)
Windham County Economic Impact Reports: 2008 and 2012 (pdf)
Resiliency Action Plan for the Town of Vernon in Preparation for the Eventual Closure of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station (pdf)
Consensus Economic and Fiscal Impact Analyses Associated with the Future of the Vermont Yankee Power Plant (pdf)
Windham County Post-VY Economic Mitigation and Growth (pdf)
For more information on the WCEDP, or to be added to the Windham County Economic Development Program email list, contact R.T. Brown, Project Manager at (802)257-7731 X 221 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.