Commercial and agricultural development projects totaling $38.5 million throughout the state will receive more than $17 million in financing assistance from the Vermont Economic Development Authority (VEDA). Included in this round of approvals is more than $2 million in low-interest agricultural stimulus financing to Vermont farmers seeking immediate assistance. The Authority is making investments in projects that will add jobs in almost all sectors of Vermont s economy, said Jo Bradley, VEDA s Chief Executive Officer. As announced by Governor James Douglas and approved by the Vermont General Assembly last month, this special low-interest agricultural stimulus financing is part of up to $6 million VEDA has available for a limited time to help eligible farmers, said Bradley. The Authority was able to buy down interest rates with $1 million in federal economic stimulus funds from Vermont s share of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and make these special loans through our agricultural financing program, the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation.Projects approved for VEDA financing are:John and Karel Underwood, Montpelier Approval of $800,000 in financing will help John and Karel Underwood purchase the Inn at Montpelier. The Inn property consists of a 19-room bed and breakfast, 10-unit apartment building, and two detached garages located on 1.2 acres in downtown Montpelier. The Underwoods, previous owners and operators of several restaurants in Cleveland, Ohio, plan to develop the function and group business side of the Inn s business. Employment at the Inn currently numbers 3.5 positions, and is expected to grow to 8 positions within three years of the $3 million project.Thetford Academy, Thetford Final approval was given for issuance of $6 million in tax-exempt industrial revenue bond financing to support a $10.8 million construction,renovation and refinance project at Thetford Academy. The project had received approval by VEDA in May, 2008, but due to subsequent changes in project scope that necessitated additional permit review, closing was delayed until this spring. Mascoma Savings and Laconia Savings Banks have agreed to participate in the project financing, which will add a new gymnasium and make major renovations of the current gym into a theater and cafeteria. The Academy s science and agriculture building also will be significantly renovated and updated. Established in 1819, Thetford Academy is Vermont s oldest continuously operating secondary school, serving students from Thetford and surrounding towns.Preci-Manufacturing, Inc., Winooski – Financing of $640,000 was approved for Preci-Manufacturing, Inc. (PMI) as part of a $1.7 million project to expand the company s manufacturing operations through construction of a 19,000 square foot addition. Located in the Highland Industrial Park in Winooski, PMI manufactures precision-machined metal components for use primarily in the defense and aerospace industries. PMI employs 103 persons, a number expected to grow to 115 within three years of the project.Durasol Awnings, Inc., Middlebury Financing of $794,000 was approved to assist Durasol Awnings, Inc. in their plans to purchase the 54,000 square foot commercial building on 18 acres where they currently lease space in Middlebury. The purchase and leasehold improvement renovations to the Geiger building on Pond Lane will help improve Durasol s efficiency in manufacturing and distribution. The Middlebury National Bank of Middlebury is also participating in the project. Durasol s Middlebury, Vermont facility, originally begun in 1976 as Otter Creek Awnings, employs 21 persons, and manufactures commercial awning products, distributing them to commercial contractors around the United States and Canada.Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc., Brattleboro – Preliminary approval was given for issuance of $2,853,000 in tax-exempt industrial revenue bond financing the Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. to help the school make extensive energy conservation upgrades at the Brattleboro campus, and refinance existing debt from prior renovations. Originally established in 1904 as the Austine School, the Vermont Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Inc. now provides comprehensive educational and support services through several programs to deaf and hard of hearing children, adults, and families throughout Vermont and surrounding states. The school s campus consists of multiple school and dormitory buildings on approximately 174 acres of land. The school employs 201 persons, a number expected to grow to 229 within three years of the project, should final approval for project financing be secured.SBE, Inc., Barre VEDA direct financing of $1.3 million to SBE, Inc. of Barre was approved contingent on award of an $8 million Department of Energy (DOE) matching grant for which SBE, Inc. has applied. The DOE grant is associated with the Economic Recovery Act for its Electric Drive Vehicle Battery and Component Manufacturing Initiative. SBE, Inc. is a designer and manufacturer of film/foil and metalized capacitors for DC and AC applications. SBE s traditional line of capacitors, which store electricity or electrical energy, are used in virtually every electronic and electrical device made, including cellular phones, televisions, power supply and power generation units, household appliances and industrial machinery. SBE, Inc. currently employs 43 persons, a number that could grow to 176 if the DOE grant is awarded. If the grant is awarded, SBE would undertake a significant $12.3 million manufacturing expansion, involving the construction and equipping of a new 50,000 square foot facility to be located in Wilson Industrial Park in Barre.The Authority also approved:An additional $433,000 in Direct Loans to several Vermont businesses and manufacturers;A total of $3.6 million in farm ownership and operating loans through the Vermont Agricultural Credit Corporation;$343,500 for several small business development projects through the Vermont Small Business Loan Program;$197,385 through the Vermont Business Energy Conservation Loan Program to help small businesses make energy efficiency and conservation improvements; and$159,450 to finance the construction of water systems through the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund.VEDA s mission is to promote economic prosperity in Vermont by providing financial assistance to eligible businesses, including manufacturing, agricultural, and travel and tourism enterprises. Since its inception in 1974, VEDA has made financing commitments totaling over $1.4 billion. For more information about VEDA, visit www.veda.org(link is external) or call 802-828-5627.
With Mississippi as the highest and Vermont the third lowest, the TransUnion Credit Risk Index, a statistic developed to measure the changes in average consumer credit risk within various geographies, increased 1.98 percent from 124.79 in the fourth quarter of 2008 to 127.26 in the first quarter of 2009. On a year-over-year basis, the Credit Risk Index increased 7.10 percent (from 118.83 in the first quarter of 2008), the largest increase for that time period in this decade. The Credit Risk Index is defined as the weighted average probability of 90-day delinquency or worse among consumers in a given region relative to the nation as a whole.On a state basis, Mississippi ranks as the riskiest state in the nation with a Credit Risk Index of 166.45. It is followed closely by Texas (162.59), Nevada (158.97), South Carolina (158.76) and Louisiana (153.84). The least risky states include: North Dakota (82.02), Minnesota (88.53), Vermont (91.82), South Dakota (94.75) and Iowa (95.26).The states that experienced the largest quarterly changes included Nevada (4.25 percent increase), Arizona (4.06 percent increase) and California (3.98 percent increase). Though Louisiana’s Credit Risk Index is the fifth highest in the nation, it is the only state that experienced a drop on a quarterly basis of .03 percent. Arkansas experienced a minimal 0.01 percent gain while Vermont increased 0.52 percent.On a year-over-year basis, Arizona (14.82 percent increase), Nevada (14.38 percent) and California (13.82 percent) had the highest percentage increases. The three states with the lowest yearly percent increases included, Alaska (1.51 percent increase), Vermont (2.17 percent increase) and Kentucky (2.85 percent increase).”The Credit Risk Index is a true barometer of today’s economy, and the first quarter of 2009 indicates that the inherent level of credit risk within the U.S. is now 27.26 percent higher than the level reflected in TransUnion’s consumer credit database at the conclusion of 1998,” said Chet Wiermanski, global chief scientist at TransUnion. “Credit Risk Index data suggest that the growth in consumer credit risk has slowed during the past quarter, a positive note. However, the index remains at an all-time historical high, indicating that delinquencies and foreclosures will continue to rise in the coming months.””It is apparent that many of the states experiencing the highest increases in credit risk are the same when looking at the Credit Risk Index statistic on both a quarterly and yearly basis,” said Wiermanski. “This leads TransUnion to believe that consumers in these states will experience prolonged systemic difficulties in both in their ability to satisfactorily repay their existing credit obligations and in their ability to acquire new credit.”While an individual credit score can be quite powerful and accurate in predicting the probability of delinquency for an individual, the average credit score for a specific geography or customer segment does not accurately portray the level of risk existing within that footprint or segment to the same degree as TransUnion’s Credit Risk Index. This is because most credit scores are built on a non-linear scale, so averaging scores does not yield the correct measure of underlying probability of default. Credit Risk Index is a great instrument for gaining insight into the potential impact of external factors on the credit risk and rate of default within a given region, or for a given population segment, precisely because it accounts for the non-linearity of the underlying credit score,” continued Wiermanski.The Credit Risk Index uses the fourth quarter of 1998 as a baseline for comparison. Therefore it measures changes in consumer credit score distributions relative to the national distribution and delinquency rates as a whole at the end of 1998. This is considered by TransUnion as a representative year of credit performance within the usual dynamic of the historical credit cycle. A value of more than 100 represents a higher level of relative risk.TransUnion’s Credit Risk Index reflects the distribution of consumer credit risk as measured by TransUnion’s TransRisk Account Management Credit Risk Model and is a key metric within TransUnion’s Trend Data database. For comparison purposes, the Credit Risk Index in recent years has generally ranged between 110 and 120, experiencing a one- or two-point shift between quarters.TransUnion’s Trend Data databaseThe source of the underlying data used for this analysis is TransUnion’s Trend Data, a one-of-a-kind database consisting of 27 million anonymous consumer records randomly sampled every quarter from TransUnion’s national consumer credit database. Each record contains more than 200 credit variables that illustrate consumer credit usage and performance. Since 1992, TransUnion has been aggregating this information at the county, Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), state and national levels.www.transunion.com/trenddata(link is external)About TransUnionAs a global leader in credit and information management, TransUnion creates advantages for millions of people around the world by gathering, analyzing and delivering information. For businesses, TransUnion helps improve efficiency, manage risk, reduce costs and increase revenue by delivering comprehensive data and advanced analytics and decisioning. For consumers, TransUnion provides the tools, resources and education to help manage their credit health and achieve their financial goals. Through these and other efforts, TransUnion is working to build stronger economies worldwide. Founded in 1968 and headquartered in Chicago, TransUnion employs associates in more than 25 countries on five continents. www.transunion.com/business(link is external)Website: http://www.transunion.com(link is external) Source: TransUnion. CHICAGO, July 9, 2009 /PRNewswire/ —
Governor Jim Douglas today announced that another 14 energy efficiency projects have been selected to receive almost $150,000 in funding from the Vermont Community Climate Change Grant Program. All told, these projects will reduce about 100 tons of greenhouse emissions – the equivalent of taking 16 cars off the road or not burning more than 10,000 galloons of gas, the Governor said.“It’s inspiring to see such strong grass-roots interest in energy efficiency and for doing Vermont’s part to combat climate change,” the Governor said. “From Shrewsbury to Strafford, Vermonters are making improvements that will not only keep CO2 out of the air, but will also save individuals and taxpayers money.”In one project, Harwood Union High School is teaming up with Freeaire Refrigeration Systems of Warren to significantly reduce the cost and energy needed for the cafeteria’s refrigerators.Freeaire taps into the greatest source of refrigeration ever created: winter. It uses cold outside air to cool a space, simply by using what nature has so kindly made available, to give the entire compressor system a winter vacation. The high school expects to reduce CO2 emissions by 10.5 tons per year.Other projects include:Village of Essex Junction: $11,000 for a methane gas recapture system for the wastewater facility, which will provide heat and hot water for the facility. Annual emissions reduction – 9.5 tons.Town of Shrewsbury: $10,832 to upgrade and weatherize the town office and emergency shelter. Annual emissions reduction – 7 tons.Town of South Hero: $9,684 to replace the heating system, upgrade lighting and replace exterior doors at the town office building. Annual emissions reduction – 6.5 tons.Town of Underhill: $12,000 seal and insulate the town hall. Annual emissions reduction – 11.5 tons.Plainfield Fire & Rescue: $12,000 to weatherize the 1854 squad building. Annual emissions reduction – 10 tons.Lamoille Union School District: $12,000 to install photovoltaic panels to power the storage garage for the cross country trails. Career center students will build the structure and net metering will generate credits for the campus. Annual emissions reduction – 2 tons.Richford Town School District: $12,000 to replace lighting at the high school gym. Annual emissions reduction – 16 tons.Yestermorrow Design/Build School of Warren: $11,850 to install a solar hot water system and create a demonstration project. Annual emissions reduction – 3 tons.Leicester School District: $8204 for lighting upgrades. Annual emissions reduction – 4 tons.Town of Moretown: $12,000 for weatherization and lighting upgrades at the town hall. Annual emissions reduction – 6 tons.Town of Waitsfield: $6515 to insulate and weatherize the Joslin Library. Annual emissions reduction – 6.5 tons.Worcester Historical Society: $9753 to weatherize and insulate the building. Annual emissions reduction – 2.5 tons.United Church of Strafford: $11,810 to install energy efficient lighting and weatherize the parish hall, including “the Ark,” an outdoor playground structure which doubles as a mini-stage for performances. Annual emissions reduction – 4.5 tons. Source: Governor’s office. 9/4/2009