Supervisors authorize $3M loan for KiORPublished 12:04am Saturday, September 8, 2012
NATCHEZ — The Adams County Board of Supervisors has authorized the application for a $3 million loan that will pay for part a levee to be built on the site of the former Belwood Country Club.
The levee is part of the county’s commitment to an economic recruiting package to bring alternative fuels company KiOR to Adams County. The Belwood property fills with water during high river stages, and the levee will designed to protect the property from flooding.
The loan the supervisors are applying for is a Capital Improvements Revolving Loan, known as a CAP loan. Natchez Inc. Executive Director Chandler Russ, who presented the loan application to the supervisors Thursday evening, said the CAP loan might save the county money in the long run.
“The good thing about the CAP loan is it is at a very reduced interest rate,” Russ said. “The loan is normally (financed) at about 3-percent interest versus bonds that might run you 5 to 6 percent.”
While the CAP loan will cover $3 million of the levee’s cost, Russ said the rest of the cost, estimated at between $2 and $3 million, will be financed by bonds.
“The greater economic benefit of being able to provide a site to a company like KiOR is the significant investment they make in the site, as well as the direct and indirect jobs that come off of it, are well justifying the expense of the levee,” Russ said.
“Quite frankly, the levee is viewed as a piece of infrastructure like water or sewer. It is an integral part of the property in order to make it suitable for business and industry, so while it is a levee and is not typical on all projects, it is necessary.”
The supervisors also authorized the hire of Smokye Joe Frank to do a cultural resource survey on the Belwood site. Russ said the survey is necessary for any grant applications the county may have related to the project.
“It is a long shot regarding grants, but we feel we are at least doing our due diligence to see if there is any funding in those areas,” Russ said.
“Part of that process is the need to do a cultural resource survey, which is inspecting the land and making sure you don’t have an Indian mound or something out there that would prohibit it from being developed.”
The site was previously given a cultural resource survey when it was shown to another prospect several years ago, but such surveys eventually expire and have to be redone, Russ said.
“There was no finding on the previous survey, but it has to be up-to-date, and there has been no additional activity on the site since the last one, so I don’t expect anything to be found regarding that,” he said.
KiOR announced earlier this year a plan to build a facility that converts organic matter into liquid fuel. The company’s $350 million investment is expected to generate 320 direct and indirect jobs and 400 construction jobs.