The Fond du Lac County Board has voted to reject a $10 million loan to Mercury Marine for an expansion project. The loan required the approval of 19 supervisors, but only 17 of the 25 voted in favor.
Steve Cramer is Chief Financial Officer for Mercury. He was disappointed, but Mercury will go ahead with the $30 million expansion, which could create hundreds of new jobs. “Tomorrow is another work day for us,” Cramer said. “We’ll put our head down and go to work.”
County Supervisor Steve Abel said Mercury had a need in 2009. when the board approved a $50 million loan, but circumstances have changed. “I just felt that Mercury Marine was taking advantage of Fond du Lac County and the sales tax payers,” Abel said. “I think there’s other uses for it, and Mercury is healthy enough that they can survive without it.”
County Executive Al Buechel says hew disappointed, noting that supervisors rejected one of the largest employers in the county and state. “If somebody else wants to add 300 jobs, I’m sure we can look at that in the future, but Mercury will not be back on this particular round,” Buechel said.
The project is expected to create up to 300 new jobs that would generate more than $23 million in annual income. Mercury currently employs more than 3,000 people in the Fond du Lac area.