A new high-tech computer business will get a $200,000 financial boost from Fillmore City, money the City Council hopes to get back in four years while helping to ultimately provide employment for more than 100 people.
The City Council voted to transfer money from the electric utility fund to an economic development fund to pave the way for the loan following a public meeting at which most of the 80 people in attendance supported the move. Fillmore officials reported the city's municipal utility has generated a $1.4 million fund which provides $100,000 per year in interest.Mayor Keith Gillins said Display Network, Inc. agrees to stay in the community for 20 years and expects to employ 110 workers by 1994. It will process, sell and service a central computer system that will allow retailers to instantly change prices and information on goods throughout an entire store. Solar-powered beams in the ceiling will transmit signals to small labels that are on merchandise on the shelves.
The concept for the product is new, but its technology isn't, according to Mike Caldwell, president.
Corporation officials are seeking additional financing before producing the computer system. The city's loan will be used to meet expenses for the first quarter, but an additional amount of $800,000 will be needed through the first year of production, Caldwell said.
He admitted that the firm has no contracts but said it has contacts with several key potential buyers and he is confident of high sales, some during the first year. By the third year, Caldwell expects to see the operation in a positive cash flow with the ability to pay off loans in the fourth year.
Millard County Administrator Robyn Pearson said the computer production venture is a high-risk one and that there have not been commitments from additional funding sources, although several have been contacted.
Caldwell said large cities aren't interested in helping to finance the firm. Efforts to establish the business in Payson or Vernal didn't materialize so it was decided that Fillmore was small enough to need the company but large enough to help finance the project.