City adds another great partnership with SCEDC

THE SHEBOYGAN COUNTY ECONOMIC Development Corp. has proven to be a great partner for the city of Plymouth – and will be even more so in the future.

The City Council assured that at their last meeting when they approved a contract for the SCEDC to provide management and reporting assistance with the city’s revolving economic development loan fund.

That fund, for some three decades or so, has helped the city aid and encourage new business – small and large – and expansions of existing businesses.

That has meant more jobs for the city and area, more residents, more tax revenues and more visitors – all pumping more money into the local economy.

But the nature of that fund has changed significantly over the years, especially in the most recent past.

Following an ill-fated attempt by the state to combine such local funds into regional funds under the aegis of the scandal-tinged state economic development corporation, oversight for the remaining local funds was turned over to the Department of Administration.

As a result, there are more stringent reporting and study requirements being made of local revolving loan funds, including such things as annual jobs reports and environmental impact studies for pending loans, among others.

Those requirements would take more time and money from the city and its staff – and take that away from other needs – and in some cases would require expertise not readily available from city staff.

But the SCEDC can provide those services, and more, to the city at less cost, keeping more of the fund money dedicated to its purpose, to grow the local economy.

It’s a service the SCEDC has been providing successfully and efficiently already for Sheboygan County and its revolving loan fund.

The city’s already healthy loan fund will add another $300,000 when the USDA Rural

Development grant for the Plymouth Cheese

Counter Heritage Center is repaid.

That center, due to open this summer, will be another example of the beneficial partnership between the city and the SCEDC. The corporation will operate the center for the city for the first few years, an arrangement which allowed the city to leverage a significant amount of funding and credits that made the center possible.

The SCEDC was a key player in the successful effort to restore the Plymouth-Kohler rail line and has played a significant role in helping attract new industries and businesses to the city, along the rail line and elsewhere.

The county as a whole has benefited greatly from the SCEDC. The county’s job growth rate and GDP growth has been higher than the state and other surrounding counties over the past several years, thanks in large part to the SCEDC’s business promotion and retention efforts.

The corporation, a combined effort of private sector businesses and local governments, is now leading a strong effort to promote and build housing for the people filling the jobs their efforts have helped create here.

The SCEDC is a shining example of how the public and private sectors can work together for the benefit of all, and it is not necessary to look any further than here in the city of Plymouth to see proof of that.

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