Company looks to authority for help
By SARAH LUNDGREN The Brunswick News
It's been a bit of a bumpy road for Scojet, a precision parts maker that moved to Brunswick from Augusta a year ago.
The facility moved into the former Keebler distribution center in the Brunswick-McBride Industrial Park, which was owned by the Brunswick and Glynn County Development Authority.
Shortly after its arrival, Scojet was approached by an internationally known aviation firm in Liberty County seeking its help in manufacturing titanium parts to go into airplane engines.
The opportunity was too crucial to pass up, but the newly located company would need help to get things started.
Through grants and loans, including $82,000 from the Brunswick and Glynn County Development Authority, it has been able to get things moving, but it's been a slow process.
The company had hoped for a $1.3 million loan but has come up $150,000 short of the amount it needs.
After moving in a couple of nearly 20-feet tall machines to finally begin production, Scojet has hit yet another road block. Before it could get the massive machines running, it needed almost $90,000 worth of unexpected electrical work done to the building, including some new transformers and wiring.
At the moment, the company needs to be able to pay for the electrical work and provide $25,000 in additional machinery in order to make the parts promised its partners.
Scojet has turned to the Brunswick and Glynn County Development Authority again for help.
During a called board meeting Thursday, Development Authority members debated on what more they could do, or if they should help in the first place. Scojet requested a $100,000 loan, to be paid back over five years at 5 percent with a specific interest plan.
Dave Smith, interim director of the development authority, explained the situation to board members, pointing out that what had been done to the building electrical-wise was partially a benefit to them. The authority no longer owns the building but has the note for the building as collateral
Scojet has been making regular payments.
"Of the $100,000, basically 75 percent would be used to pay off the electrical work and the other roughly 25 percent would be for machinery," Smith said. "Of that $90,000 of electrical work (to the building), about $50,000 is actually equipment: transformers, breakers, actual hardware."
Some of the board members were cautious to consider the loan, which the company has said would get it moving.
The board wasn't entirely convinced.
Board members Bruce Dixon and Mel Baxter said they would like to help with something, especially to protect their initial investment.
The board agreed to provide a loan of up to $75,000,
Beyond that, Baxter said he would like to sit down with Scojet representatives and the company it will do business with when it goes online.
While it is not the full loan, Scojet would be able to begin produce at least one or two of the requested parts for its client.
* Reporter Sarah Lundgren writes about education and other local topics. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 322.