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State board changes policies on job loans, grants

PIERRE -- The state Board of Economic Development decided Tuesday it won't review monthly bills from its service contractors any longer and will look at other bills only if the amounts exceed $2,500, rather than $1,000.

The board also reduced the loan origination fee to 1 percent from the recent practice of 1.5 percent but will start passing along its lawyer fees to the loan recipients.

State Commissioner of Economic Development Pat Costello introduced his new deputy commissioner, Aaron Scheibe.

Scheibe, who began Monday, succeeds Nathan Lukkes in the position.

Lukkes accepted a research and development post for the state Board of Regents central office where he works with university projects.

Scheibe said he is a native of Pierre, holds a law degree and did his undergraduate training in economics and foreign affairs.

"It's good to be home," Scheibe said.

Much of his professional experience came in the federal Foreign Service for the U.S. State Department in nations of central Europe and the former Soviet Union.

He said his background includes work in international trade, consulting with investors at U.S. embassies abroad and involvement in trade agreements and treaties.

In another change, the state board clarified Tuesday that local infrastructure grants are intended for projects in which a nonprofit organization or local government has at least a majority share in the real estate.

Costello said governments have been making applications on behalf of private developers.

The new policy contains exceptions: Projects in communities of 5,000 or smaller populations; and projects expected to create "significant" jobs.

"These are guidelines. They are not hard and fast rules," said Pierre lawyer Tim Engel, who represents the board. "There may be a scenario where you want to help get something going."