Hastings Economic Development Update - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

Hastings Economic Development Update

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Your utility dollars help keep many in the community employed. Hastings Economic Development Corporation officials said Hastings Utilities keeps some companies going, and they have room to help others wanting to expand.

HEDC gets their dollars through both public and private funds, but a different fund apart from their budget is geared toward company growth.

$5.5 million from the Hastings Utility incentive has helped two companies expand -- Thermo King and Drake Tool and Design.

For now the economic development group has laid out $612,000 to help those companies -- because those two companies are the only ones that have applied as of now. Officials say any others can also apply to see if they meet the funding criteria.

HEDC Executive Director Dave Rippe said that criteria is, "To make sure it hits the metrics -- they want to add jobs and want to add utility intensive projects so they're selling power, new machinery, new equipment, plant updates -- things like that."

He said good utility rates are important when businesses come to town, but some are seeing economic uncertainty.

"There is still a lot of hesitating at the federal level, be it health care or EPA or taxes," he said, "so I think people are still evaluating a lot of federal issues, but we've seen interests in Hastings…We need to continue to work with those folks as they go through those processes."

The two companies funded by the utilities incentives began in January and February of 2012. They've been able to retain 220 jobs and brought in 100 new ones.

Companies involved in the incentives program must uphold their end of the deal, and keep those new employees on for at least two years. 

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