The Clewiston News

City to begin paying back loan

All-Juice and Beverage has not created the 12 jobs needed to satisfy a grant accepted by the city of Clewiston.

In November 2014, it was reported the city of Clewiston would be on the hook to pay back roughly $360,000 worth of a grant awarded by the Department of Economic Opportunity (DOE). The grant was used to build sewer systems, roads and other infrastructure at the city’s Commerce Park located on Olympia Street.

The city partnered with All Juice & Beverage, Inc., agreeing to invest $400,000 in its company should it build at Commerce Park, with half of the DEO grant ($180,000) being forgiven from the $400,000 deal if the company could create 12 new jobs (it was reported in 2014 that 11 new jobs needed to be created).

Back in November, All Juice had not yet opened its doors. But nearly two weeks after the article printed, All Juice held its grand opening and began its Clewiston Water operations.

Since then, All Juice has created a few positions and has cut the city’s payment by about $36,000. As of now, the city must pay back roughly $324,000 to the DOE.

The payment schedule begins on June 30, 2016 and continues until March 31, 2021. The city would pay about $16,000 per quarter and the money is already budgeted.

On Monday, Aug. 17, commissioners unanimously approved the agreement for repayment.

Until the payment schedule begins next year, the city could still reduce payments by about $29,000 for every full-time position created at the Commerce Park. With only one business at Commerce Park, All Juice is the city’s only hope to reduce its repayment amount even further.