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Cuomo announces North Country Economic Development Fund

WATERTOWN, N.Y. — The North Country Economic Development Fund will provide low-cost loans for businesses expanding their facilities and creating or retaining jobs.

A long-term power contract between the New York Power Authority (NYPA) and Alcoa, Inc. (NYSE: AA) has generated the $10 million fund.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the fund in a news release his office distributed on Thursday.

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“This fund will give local businesses access to the capital they need to invest in land, equipment and technology that will enable them to remain competitive in the 21st Century,” Cuomo said in the release.

The board of directors of the Watertown–based Development Authority of the North Country (DANC) on Thursday approved the protocol necessary to administer the loan fund jointly with NYPA, Cuomo’s office said.

The organizations can also accept applications from businesses aiming to expand in St. Lawrence, Clinton, Franklin, Essex, Jefferson, Lewis, Hamilton, or Herkimer counties.

Expanding enterprises within the New York boundaries of the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation are also eligible, the release stated.

The board of directors of the North Country Economic Development Fund will “regularly” review applications for funding.

The board includes representatives from NYPA, DANC, the North Country Alliance, and Empire State Development.

For every $25,000 loaned from the fund, a firm must create or retain at least one job. Businesses are eligible to apply for loans of up to 30 percent of the planned project cost, with the ceiling for the loans set at $300,000, according to the governor’s office.

The North Country Economic Development Fund is available to manufacturers, agri-business operators, clean and green biotechnology firms, assemblers, and wholesale distributors.

Warehouses can also apply for the purpose of acquiring land, constructing and renovating buildings, and purchasing machinery or equipment.

Funding is also available for business-improvement districts. Nonprofit organizations are also eligible to apply for community-revitalization projects.

Retail and market applicants may also be eligible, but must meet “special criteria” in order to be considered for a loan, according to Cuomo’s office.

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com

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