HAEIFAC provided $25 million in loans to HAEIF provided $25 million in loans to 47 businesses, municipalities
The Hanford Area Economic Investment Fund was created by the Washington State Legislature in 1991 when local leaders, recognizing that the mission of the Hanford nuclear reserve was changing, worked with legislators to create an economic investment fund.
The primary objective of the Hanford Area Economic Investment Fund Advisory Committee (HAEIFAC) is to provide loan financing that enables job creation and is a means of raising funds to help diversify the local economic base in the “Hanford area”, which is defined as Benton and Franklin counties. The fund receives a portion of royalties collected from low-level nuclear waste deposited at the US Department of Energy site in the Hanford area.
The Program is hosted by the Washington Department of Commerce and is governed by all laws applicable to all state agencies.
Commerce Director Lisa Brown, Deputy Director Mark Barkley and their staff provide assistance, support and guidance with legal counsel provided by Washington State Assistant Attorney General Sandra Adix.
“Our partnership with HAEIFAC on Local Finance Solutions is a unique and important opportunity to diversify the local economy and create jobs that strengthen communities in Benton and Franklin counties,” Brown said.
Who makes up HAEIFAC?
The advisory committee is made up of 11 members representing the public and private sectors of the two counties. According to the RCW, membership consists of a “balanced membership representing one member each of the elected officers of Benton County, Franklin County, City of Richland, City of Kennewick, City of Pasco, a Hanford-area port district, the labor community and four members of the Hanford-area business and finance community, all appointed by the Director of the Department of Commerce.
The chairman of the committee is also appointed by the director of the Department of Commerce with the approval of the governor’s office.
The other officers of HAEIFAC are elected annually by the committee.
Current leadership is under Department of Commerce appointed Chairman Skip Novakovich, who is the Hanford Area Port Representative.
The other members of the committee currently appointed are: Rebekah Dobbs, vice-president – representative of the financial community; Colin Hastings, Secretary – Business Representative; Phil Lemley – Treasurer, City of Richland; Pete Serrano, Chairman, Private Business Lending Subcommittee, City of Pasco; Austin DePaolo, Chairman of the Municipal Loans Subcommittee, Union Representative; Karl Dye, Grants Sub-Committee Chair – Business Representative; Franklin County Representative Brad Peck; Benton County Representative Will McKay; and Paulina Perez, representative of the business community. The board had a vacancy in mid-April.
What does HAEIFAC do?
The RCWs empower HAEIFAC to (1) Adopt bylaws for the regulation of its affairs and the conduct of its affairs; (2) Use the services of other government agencies; (3) Accept loans or grants from any federal or state agency for the purpose of financing Hanford Area Revolving Loan Funds, Hanford Area infrastructure projects, or Hanford Area economic development projects. the Hanford area; (4) To adopt rules for the administration of the program, including the conditions and rates relating to loans as well as the criteria for the awarding of grants, loans and financial guarantees.
Support Services Agreements
HAEIFAC has no employees and committee members are not compensated for their service.
The Advisory Board maintains various support service contracts.
The state attorney general’s office assigns an assistant attorney general to provide legal services. Accounting and lending services are currently outsourced through the CPA firm of CliftonLarsonAllen.
Jo Larr Management Consulting is engaged to provide administrative services support. It is under contract with One World Technology.
Three sub-committees support the review of funding requests. Each group reviews the funding request, conducts a thorough assessment of all criteria and, when their process is complete, makes a recommendation to the full committee.
The Private Business Loan Review Subcommittee reviews loan applications submitted by for-profit businesses located in both counties.
The Public Entity Loan Review Sub-Committee reviews loan applications from government agencies or public entities.
The Grant Review Subcommittee reviews grant applications from government agencies or public entities.
The company is committed to carrying out accounting and loan administration work with all applicants to ensure that their applications are complete and that the applicant understands and wishes to proceed with the process before submitting the application to the sub-committee suitable for review.
The first small business loans were granted in 1997 to Xactex, Plastic Injection Molding and One World Telecommunications.
In 1998, the first municipal loan was granted to the town of Pasco for a water reuse facility to help with infrastructure for the development of the agricultural food processing sector.
In 2011, a formal Municipal Grants Program was launched to provide local municipalities with local matching funding for grant applications.
The cities of Pasco, Kennewick, Richland, West Richland and Connell, along with the Port of Benton and the Port of Kennewick, received grant funds that helped leverage additional federal and state funds totaling more than $20 million .
In addition to the official program, advance matching assistance of $500,000 was also provided to establish the CREDiT loan fund managed by the Benton-Franklin Council of Governments.
An example of recent private sector funding is a loan to Iconic Brewing, which opened in Richland’s Horn Rapids in 2021.
Owners Matt and Deb Driscoll contacted HAEIFAC through a recommendation from their local bank.
The advisory board was impressed with the owners’ significant personal investment and the potential to expand job creation and the number of craft breweries in the community.
The owners of Iconic Brewing told the committee they were very happy to have a local community partner to help fund their start-up, especially during the pandemic.
“HAEIFAC has been very accommodating with its funding terms during the pandemic as we navigate the difficult Covid economy,” the Driscolls said.
Another recent private sector funding was provided to The Lodge at Columbia Point in Richland.
HAEIFAC was delighted to help provide the necessary back-up funding which provided a local solution to further the development of this “boutique hotel”.
The funding helped the hotel retain its 62 employees and “encourage quality and visitor loyalty and economic investment in Southeast Washington,” said Wendy Higgins, general manager of The Lodge.
A recent example of public sector funding occurred when the committee worked with the Port of Pasco to assist with timely surge funding to purchase land that led to the creation of the Reimann Industrial Center to support the immediate demand for industrial land to be developed.
The new Darigold factory has chosen the region, planning an investment estimated at 500 million dollars.
“We greatly appreciate HAEIFAC’s timely assistance in being able to raise the financing for this project,” said Randy Hayden, Port of Pasco Executive Director.
Total loans to date
To date, HAEIFAC has provided $25 million in loans to 47 businesses and municipalities.
These loans are estimated to have created or maintained over 4,300 jobs and supported over $330 million in local private and public finance investments.
The advisory committee has enabled many local businesses, as well as municipalities, to obtain financing that has allowed them to seize opportunities for growth, create jobs and diversify the local economy.
The fund’s current loan portfolio includes private enterprise loans to Fuse, Iconic Brewing, Baum’s Chocolates, Prepper Peppers, The Lodge at Columbia Point, Second Chance Spirits and Cookies R Rusk. Public municipal loans were granted to the City of Pasco for the upgrading of the sewage treatment plant and to the Port of Pasco for the development of the Reimann Industrial Center and the purchase of airport land.
For more information, contact JoEllen Peters, Administrative Consultant, at [email protected] or 509-547-9448.
Skip Novakovich is Chairman of the Hanford Area Economic Investment Fund.