Huntingdon County's Enterprise Zone is one of 24 designated EZ's throughout Pennsylvania. Huntingdon received its designation in 2003 through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The purpose of the EZ is to improve the standard of living by revitalizing these areas, attracting new businesses to the area and creating job opportunities. Huntingdon's EZ designation ends July 2010.
The Huntingdon County EZ offers a variety of special programs, incentives, preferences and development opportunities for manufacturing, industrial and IT based businesses. EZ Competitive loans are granted to Huntingdon County and re-loaned to the individual companies. The monies granted to Huntingdon County stay within the county and are not paid back to DCED. Businesses can apply for 30 percent of the total project cost, not to exceed $350,000 at a low interest rate. The EZ also has a benefit of tax credits for companies doing construction or renovation work within the designated zone.
To date, Huntingdon County has received three competitive loans. In 2005, Bonney Forge Corporation and JR Wald Inc. received EZ funding, followed by Mutual Benefit Group in 2006. The monthly loan payments received from the three companies are paid into the Huntingdon County Enterprise Zone Revolving Loan Fund. The payments accumulate in the RLF and are used for smaller loans - $15,000 to $75,000 - to companies in the designated area. Since April 2007, Huntingdon County has provided seven companies with monies through the RLF. The seven loans account for the retention of 35 jobs in Huntingdon County and potentially creating 15 new jobs within the next three years. Even though the Huntingdon County EZ designation from the state expires in 2010, the loan payments received will continue to replenish the RLF and insure smaller loans to companies indefinitely.
"The EZ RLF hasbenefited several small businesses in Huntingdon County, by partnering with local banks,to provide an alternative source of funding," Larry Burger, EZ RLF committee chairman, said. "Thelow interest loans are for the purchase of landand/or building, expansion of existing facilities,machinery and equipment acquisition or modernization,all with theintention of retaining or creating jobs.Local administration of the fund, including the Loan Review Committee and the Huntingdon County Commissioners, insures the funds will be utilized to the extent they were intended."
The Huntingdon County EZ includes parts of Union, Smithfield, Shirley, Porter, Henderson, Brady and Walker townships, as well as, Huntingdon, Mount Union, Mill Creek and Mapleton boroughs. A map of the zone can be obtained by visiting www.jcel.biz and clicking on "Economic Development."
All EZ applications for financing and tax credits must come from the offices of the Huntingdon County EZ coordinator and the Huntingdon County Commissioners. Companies interested in learning more about the EZ program should contact Susanne House, Huntingdon County's EZ coordinator, at (814) 641.3735 or firstname.lastname@example.org. More information about the EZ program can be found at www.newpa.com.
Susanne M. House is the Huntingdon County Enterprise Zone Coordinator.