It appears that there have been enough new jobs added to Red Barn Pet Products since the operation opened in the former Great Bend Packing facility south of Great Bend that more than $57,000 in county funding will be released. However the Barton County Commission is seeking proof that the jobs were created before that money is released, it was decided Monday.
Both Barton County and the city of Great Bend had agreed to a distribution of $57,250 from their Economic Development Revolving Loan Fund accounts, when Red Barn agreed to locate in Barton County, with the understanding that the release of funds would be based on the creation of jobs.
Last week, the Great Bend City Council approved the disbursement of that money, based on the report that Red Barn has created 145 local jobs.
Great Bend Chamber of Commerce Director Jan Peters noted that about 10 of those jobs were for personnel who moved to the community and the rest have been filled locally.
In response to questions from commission members, Peters added that Boeckman, for the county, and City Attorney Bob Suelter for the city, have communicated with Red Barn on the employee numbers.
But commission members suggested it would be a good idea to see more information about the actual jobs.
“My grandfather said, ‘Trust everybody and always cut the cards,’” Commissioner Homer Kruckenberg commented.
The suggestion from the commissioners was that Boeckman should request the state employment forms and review them before releasing the county funds.
Peters commented that does not appear to be called for in the contract the county and city reached with the pet food company.
Kruckenberg suggested if that is not included in the contract, then the money should be released now.
The commission moved to release the funds, contingent on Boeckman reviewing the documentation. Kruckenberg voted in opposition.