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LibbyMt.com > News > July 2009 > Stinger guarantees jobs

Signing. Photo by Kootenai Valley Record.
Lincoln County Commissioner Tony Berget puts his signature on an agreement to bring Stinger Welding to Libby. Also on hand for the signing are (seated, from left) Commissioner John Konzen and Kootenai River Development Council director Paul Rumelhart and (standing) Kootenai Business Park Industrial District board members Russ Barnes, Amy Guth and Ardell Filler. Photo by Kootenai Valley Record.

Kootenai Valley Record. Photo by Kootenai Valley Record.
Kootenai Valley Record
Stinger guarantees jobs
Bridge builder inks deal to set up facility at industrial park
by Brent Shrum, Kootenai Valley Record
July 3, 2009

Itís official: Stinger Welding is coming to Libby and bringing at least 200 jobs with it.

Lincoln County officials signed a formal agreement last week with the Arizona-based steel bridge manufacturer that finalizes the companyís plan to set up shop at the Kootenai Business Park Industrial District. Under the terms of the agreement, Stinger will construct its own building at the former mill site, which will be purchased by the industrial district and then leased back to the company. The agreement includes a guarantee that the company will employ at least 200 people within four years and maintain those jobs for another six years.

"They donít think theyíre going to have any problem whatsoever achieving that," said industrial district chair Amy Guth. "They expect to exceed that."

Guth drafted the agreement with the assistance of fellow attorney Mark Fennessy. The agreement was signed Thursday by the industrial districtís board of directors along with the county commissioners. Stinger Welding president Carl Douglas traveled to Libby Friday to put his signature on the document.

Funding for the project includes a $3.3 million loan from the Montana Board of Investments along with a $3.2 million insurance settlement the industrial district received following the collapse of the old plywood plant roof under a heavy snow load, an $800,000 Community Development Block Grant, and a $400,000 grant from the Big Sky Trust Fund.

Once Stinger completes the building, it will be purchased at cost by the industrial district. Lease payments from Stinger will be used to pay off the MBOI loan. If the minimum level of 200 jobs is not achieved, the company will pay a penalty of $16,600 for each job under 200, with the money to be put toward paying off the loan.

A similar penalty, agreed upon in concept but with details to be worked out, will be assessed to reimburse the industrial districtís $3.2 million contribution from the insurance settlement if the minimum employment level is not met and maintained. Otherwise, the $3.2 million investment by the industrial district will not be repaid by Stinger. The company will have the option to buy the building at any time, however.

"In any event, whether they purchase the building or not, they enter into the jobs guarantee," Guth said.

Stinger has already made a down payment for construction of the building, Guth said.

"They want to keep on that construction schedule and get the roof up by fall," she said.

Editorís Note: See the June 30, 2009 edition of the Kootenai Valley Record for the printed version of this story. The Kootenai Valley Record publishes once a week, on Tuesdays, in Libby, Montana. They are a locally owned community newspaper, located at 403 Mineral Avenue in Libby. For in-county and out-of-county subscription information, call 406-293-2424, or e-mail kvrecord@gmail.com.

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