Sedgwick County commissioners on Wednesday approved a $250,000 loan to aviation supplier Figeac Aero North America to entice it to make Wichita its North American headquarters.
Commissioners voted 3-2, with board members Karl Peterjohn and Richard Ranzau voting against the loan. Ranzau expressed concern about some information being missing from the agreement at the time commissioners were asked to consider it. He suggested deferring a vote until commissioners had the full agreement before them, but that motion failed.
Figeac earlier this year purchased aviation supplier Sonaca NMF Wichita with plans to grow.
A staff report that commissioners received says the company would not expand in Wichita without the forgivable loan. Figeac would use the money to buy land in the Webb Business Park near Webb Road and 40th Street North.
Gary Plummer, president and CEO of the Wichita Metro Chamber of Commerce, said Figeac had looked at North Carolina, Louisiana and Mexico as locations for its headquarter.
“This company had a lot of options about where to put down roots in North America,” Plummer said.
To get the money, Figeac would agree to add 200 full-time jobs paying an average annual salary of at least $39,520 during the next five years.
It would add 50 jobs in the first year with average hourly wages at $19, or a $39,520 annual salary. In the second year, it would add 35 jobs with an annual salary of $40,706. It would add another 35 jobs in the third year with an annual salary of $41,927. In the fourth year, it would add another 35 jobs at an annual salary of $43,185. In the fifth year, it would add 45 jobs with an annual salary of $44,480. Total wages would be just less than $8.4 million.
Chris Chronis, chief financial officer for the county, said the return on investment for the county would be $1.46 for every $1 invested.
Chronis said the city of Wichita will consider a $250,000 to Figeac after the first of the year as well as a tax abatement.