Bonds approved for energy company

Published 10:23 pm Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Suffolk City Council on Wednesday approved the city’s first industrial revenue bonds through the newly created recovery zone.

The move allows the issue of up to $20 million of low-interest bonds on behalf of GPC Green Energy, LLC, using the city’s Economic Development Authority as a conduit. The company will use the money to construct a 10,000-square-foot facility at the BASF site on Wilroy Road to convert landfill gas into electricity.

Recovery zones, established by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, can be designated by a majority vote of the locality’s governing body. The zones allow companies located within their boundaries to obtain low-interest financing for construction, expansion, renovation or other activities, using the Economic Development Authority as a conduit.


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“This was a no-brainer,” Skip Smith of GPC Green Energy said after last week’s hearing on the bonds at the economic authority’s meeting. “This is a neat, neat project.”

The project is expected to create nine new jobs, Smith added, in addition to taking about 200,000 tons of carbon dioxide — generated by rotting trash at the Southeastern Public Service Authority landfill — out of the air.

The electricity generated from the gas will power operations at the BASF site, as well as about 4,000 homes in the area. The plant will operate as long as the landfill produces enough gas to convert, Deputy City Manager Patrick Roberts said in last week’s authority meeting.

The financing does not add any debt or liability to the EDA or the city and will generate new tax income, mainly through machinery and tools taxes.

The city’s new recovery zones encompass the greater downtown and North Suffolk areas. City leaders hope the recovery zone benefits will help them attract replacement businesses for the U.S. Joint Forces Command if a Department of Defense proposal to close the command becomes a reality.