Bethlehem Steel tops Sunny Day wish list $5.5 million request leads varied applicants

State aid

December 12, 1997|By Mark Ribbing | Mark Ribbing,SUN STAFF

Maryland businesses have come up with their wish lists, with some expensive and perhaps contentious items on the roster of goodies.

The General Assembly has received requests for the next round of Sunny Day Funds, state government loans that companies can use to bolster their operations.

The loans are desirable because they offer below-market rates and may be deferred or even forgiven entirely if the company meets agreed-upon employment or capitalization goals.

According to information provided by the Department of Legislative Services, the current Sunny Day applications vary widely in size and purpose.

The biggest requests are from Bethlehem Steel Corp. and Baltimore Marine Industries Inc. Bethlehem wants $5.5 million to help build a cold-rolling steel mill at Sparrows Point, and Baltimore Marine is asking for $4 million to improve the former BethShip ship repair yard.

More modest requests seek six-figure sums for equipment purchases and headquarters relocations. DAP Inc., for example, is seeking a $425,000 loan to help move its headquarters from Ohio to Baltimore. Sierra Military Health Services Inc. and Radio One Inc. are also applying for assistance in setting up bases of operation in the state, while Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Co. is looking for money to improve its current offices in Baltimore.

The approval of requests is not automatic. For example, the General Assembly's Department of Fiscal Services rejected Radio One's $500,000 request at the last round of Sunny Day decisions in June because the Department of Fiscal Services expressed concerns about the uses of the requested funds. The company, which owns radio stations in Baltimore and Washington, is requesting the same amount this time around.

The Department of Business and Economic Development administers the Sunny Day Fund formally known as the Economic Development Opportunities Fund and helps prepare the requests.

"We use the Sunny Day Fund for job creation and retention. It's one of the tools we use to help supplement the qualities that make Maryland a place to do good business," said department spokesman Andrew Spitzler.

The Legislative Policy Committee will decide on the requests at an open hearing Tuesday.

Sunny Day requests

Bethlehem Steel Corp.: $5.5 million conditional grant for a cold-rolling steel mill at Sparrows Point in Baltimore County.

Baltimore Marine Industries Inc.: $4 million loan for the improvement of Sparrows Point as a ship repair and conversion facility.

Rohr Industries Inc.: Extension of compliance period for previously-approved conditional grant of $1 million.

Sierra Military Health Services Inc.: $750,000 loan to lease 83,000 square feet for its regional headquarters in Baltimore and create 330 jobs statewide.

Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Co.: $500,000 loan for expansion and improvement of its Baltimore headquarters.

Radio One Inc.: $500,000 loan to move headquarters to Maryland.

MCI Communications Corp.: $450,000 loan for renovation of a new local-service facility in Frederick County.

DAP Inc.: $425,000 loan for the relocation of its corporate headquarters from Tipp City, Ohio, to Baltimore.

Wood Products Inc.: $350,000 loan for the purchase of lumber manufacturing equipment.

Automatic Data Processing Inc.: $200,000 loan for the consolidation of existing Baltimore County offices into a new 85,000-square-foot facility in Owings Mills.

Hub Labels Inc.: $200,000 loan for equipment purchases.

Rite Aid Corp.: Modification of its previously approved $2.25 million loan to change the percentage of jobs hired out.

SOURCE: Department of Legislative Services.

Pub Date: 12/12/97

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