WEST BEND - Washington County decided it will add
a forgivable loan to a package of enticements local economic
development experts hope will convince Kerry Ingredients &
Flavours to expand its plant in Jackson, bringing in an
additional 60 jobs.
Following an hour-long closed session Wednesday
night, the County Board voted 25-1 to approve a loan that will
be linked with the economic development effort the village of
Jackson was putting together.
Economic Development Washington County officials
met with the Jackson Village Board following the County Board
vote where the “final framework for an incentive package” was
approved, EDWC Executive Director Christian Tscheschlok said.
The low-interest forgivable loan would
essentially be converted into a grant if certain agreed-on
parameters are met by the company, County Attorney Kimberly Nass
The amount of the potential loan is not being
disclosed at this time, County Board Chairman Herb Tennies said.
He is a county supervisor from West Bend.
On Sept. 26 the Jackson Plan Commission made the
recommendation to approve the expansion project proposal, which
will be voted on by the Village Board at a public hearing
Tuesday, Tscheschlok said. “We are committed to moving this
project forward to a successful closure.
“Our current facility is at capacity,” Josh
Wagner, Jackson plant manager, said. “The project will enable us
to expand our production and packaging in response to an
increase in customer demand.”
Wagner said Kerry will make a decision quickly
once all approvals have been made.
County Supervisor Ralph Hensel from West Bend
cast the single no vote on the county loan. He said he was not a
fan of corporate welfare. “I’m just not in favor of it.”
County Supervisor Michael Parsons abstained from
voting because his employer has business dealings with Kerry.
Absent from Wednesday’s special board meeting
were county supervisors Todd White, town of Trenton; Peter Sorce
and Dawn Eyre, Germantown.
Tuesday, following a closed session of the County
Board’s Executive Committee, it was disclosed the loan could be
as much as $500,000, although no one would confirm that
The money would come from the county’s Attraction
Fund, created for such projects and administered by the EDWC.
The five-member Executive Committee recommended the board
approve the loan to Kerry.
In September it was revealed that parent
corporation Kerry Group plc will decide later this month where
among its 45 facilities in the United States it will place the
project, which could boost employment by 60 workers and add
119,000 square feet for production and warehousing to the
existing 165,000-square-foot facility at N165 W21455 Main St.
The Kerry Group produces ingredients and
flavorings for the worldwide food and beverage industries and is
headquartered in Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland. Kerry’s largest
division, the America Region offices, are in Beloit, which heads
up operation in both North and South Americas.
The Jackson plant produces dairy and culinary
products, and employs 140.
If Kerry authorizes the expansion, construction
would begin this year with a targeted completion in August,
according to a spokesman for a design firm working on the local