The Utah Department of Community and Economic Development's Private Activity Bond Authority is making it possible for two rural northern Utah companies to increase their competitiveness and give an economic boost to the area at the same time.

The authority board has approved low-interest, tax-exempt industrial development bonds of $4 million to Bear Creek Country Kitchens Inc., Heber City, and $3 million to Precision Tool Inc., Hyrum.Bear Creek Country Kitchens will use its money to build an 84,000 square-foot addition to its Heber City plant and increase production of specialty soup, bread and cake mixes. That will result in 72 new jobs and bring the total number of permanent employees to about 200.

Precision Tool officials will use their money to finance the construction of a 21,000 square-foot addition for high-precision machining, fabrication and grinding services. It will result in 32 people being added to the 96 employees already on the payroll.

In both instances, said Richard Nelson, authority director, the salaries that will be paid to the new employees are substantially higher than those paid by other businesses in the areas where the companies are located.