Linn County would loan $28,800 to a local business for the first time under a plan approved this morning by county supervisors.
On a 3-1 vote, supervisors approved the county’s participation in a $144,000 package of loans for MSI Mold Builders of rural Cedar Rapids. The Iowa Economic Development Authority is making the loans, and $42,000 in sales-tax refunds, available to MSI in hopes the company will pick its local plant over one in Greenville, S.C., for a planned expansion project.
IEDA required Linn County’s participation as a local match to its effort. The state agency’s board will vote on the complete at its Sept. 21 meeting.
Supervisor Brent Oleson, R-Marion cast the sole dissenting vote. Supervisor John Harris, R-Palo, was absent.
“I’m probably too altruistic in not wanting to give direct grants to a business,” said Oleson.
“It’s a great company, good jobs, all that,” Oleson said before today’s meeting. “I’m just not a big fan of getting in a race to see who can give away public money.”
The package also includes abatement of county property taxes on the company’s new addition for five years, said Supervisor Linda Langston, D-Cedar Rapids.
The county maintains a $200,000 annual economic development fund distributed at supervisors’ discretion. Allocations so far have gone to support business development groups such as the Kirkwood Small Business Development Center and such community projects as the New Bo Market, Czech Village Urban Main Street, and Cedar Rapids’ RAGBRAI event this summer.
“This is the kind of thing the cities would typically see,” Langston said. “There aren’t that many manufacturing plants in the county.”
MSI makes molds for plastic electronics and computer components in its plant at 12300 Sixth St. SW, south of the Cedar Rapids city limits.
IEDA said MSI employs 65 at its Linn County plant, 18 in South Carolina. The company’s expansion project would add 18 new local jobs and retain six, with an average wage of $23.94 an hour, according to the agency.
MSI management hasn’t yet returned calls seeking comment.