City of Muskogee Foundation directors approved an incentives package that is expected to add 24 well-paying jobs to the local economy.

The out-of-cycle grant — worth $84,650 over a three-year period — was requested by Muskogee City-County Port Authority for its strategic investments program. The incentive package is being offered to Superior Graphics and Signs, a Muskogee company recently purchased by Don and Julie Porter, owners of Tulsa-based sign installation and service company YESCO.

Industrial Development Director Marie Synar said the performance-based incentive requires a capital investment worth more than $1.26 million for building acquisition and new equipment purchases. That local investment is expected to create 24 jobs with a cumulative average annual salary of $50,500.

“From my perspective, these are new owners — they are not from Muskogee, and they could have picked this manufacturing up and relocated it closer to where they are now or anywhere else in the country,” Synar said when discussing the incentive earlier this month. “So the fact they decided to invest and grow here in the community, we are excited to partner with them here in Muskogee.”

Earnie Gilder, economic development committee chairman, said grant funds will be disbursed from the foundation's grant budgets during the span of four years, beginning with a $27,000 disbursement from the fiscal year 2021 grant budget. Successive disbursements of $35,000 in fiscal year 2022, $24,400 in fiscal year 2023 and $2,750 in fiscal year 2024 will be paid in accordance to a performance schedule Synar and her team will negotiate with Superior Graphics. 

Synar said the Porters plan to invest $1.265 million locally, purchasing the building now leased by Superior Signs, and purchasing and installing new equipment during a three-year period. During that time, Synar said, the company plans to add 24 new jobs.

Frank Merrick, executive director, said the annual grant budget represents the amount of money available for all grants each year, a figure approved annually by foundation directors. It diminishes the amount of money available for other grants, but the amount approved Monday "is carved in stone" and will not change so long as the company meets its performance goals. 

Foundation directors increased their oversight of grants awarded for the port's strategic investment program are handled. Merrick said the change gives directors more control of the money.

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