For businesses that want to build or expand their manufacturing and processing facilities, the Economic Development Corporation of Pierce County (EDCPC) offers an affordable financing option.
The EDCPC, staffed by the Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County, is a public corporation that issues tax-free Industrial Development Revenue Bonds (IDRBs) for projects anywhere in Pierce County. The federal IDRB program offers below-market financing for qualified projects. No public money backs the bonds, and borrowers are fully liable for repayment and must obtain private backing. While interest rates for capital projects have been low over the last several years, IDRBs are an excellent choice when rates increase.
“The IDRB funding provides our Pierce County businesses a more affordable option for loans to expand or relocate,” said EDCPC Board President Ryan Windish, Community Development Director for City of Sumner. “The focus on manufacturing operations translates to good paying jobs in our county and region.”
Helping pave the way
The EDCPC’s role is to evaluate project proposals, provide information and assistance to businesses as they work through the bond process and advocate for bond approval before the Pierce County Council. Based on the EDCPC’s recommendations, the Council has approved the issue of multiple IDRBs that have helped companies stay competitive and keep and grow jobs in Pierce County. For example, Shining Ocean, Inc., a Sumner-based supplier of surimi seafood, used an $8.2 million bond to pay for upgrades and new equipment to enhance and expand its production processes and refinance an existing bond. Puyallup-based SeaTac Packaging, a manufacturer of bags for transporting food, animal feed, seeds, cement mix and more, used a $10 million IDRB to finance a portion of its 103,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility that opened in the Frederickson Industrial Area in 2019.
The current cap on IDRBs is $10 million in total bonds, but funding may soon be increased. Legislation in the works would expand funding to $20 million.
New board members strengthen effort
The Pierce County Council recently approved the addition of three new members to the EDCPC board: Becky Newton, City of Lakewood Economic Development Manager; Frank Boykin, Director of the Manufacturing Industrial Council (MIC) for the South Sound; and Bill Dickens, President and CEO of BJNJ, an economic consulting firm, and former senior economist with Tacoma Public Utilities.
Dickens looks forward to providing his “economic thinking” and insights as the board weighs the economic opportunities and costs of projects and proposals. He’s also focused on ensuring IDRB funding helps all of Pierce County.
“When we talk about promoting projects that impact and benefit the community, we want to be clear and consistent that we’re looking at all of Pierce County, not just a select group or section,” Dickens said. “Diversity and inclusion across all racial demographic groups is vital.”
Additional EDCPC board members include Marty Campbell, Pierce County Council (District 5); Scott Francis, Director of Real Estate, Port of Tacoma; Patty Rose, Secretary-Treasurer, Pierce County Central Labor Council; John Rader, Production Director, WOW Baking Company; and Jeff Robinson, Director of Community and Economic Development, City of Tacoma.
“We are very happy to welcome our newest board members and look forward to coming together in September,” said Windish, who believes being a part of the EDCPC board is an opportunity to network and build relationships within the South Sound. “The collaboration between a wide range of entities strengthens our collective mission and reinforces that we’re all in this together.”
If your business is looking to build or expand its manufacturing or processing facilities and you’re interested in IDRB funding, contact Jacqueline Moffo, EDB Vice President of Business Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 253.284.5889.