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FDL County Board rejects $10M loan for Mercury Marine expansion

FOND DU LAC, WI (WTAQ) - The Fond du Lac County Board has refused to give a $10 million low-interest loan to Mercury Marine for an expansion of its outboard motor plant. 

The board voted 17-7 Tuesday night to grant the loan, but it fell two votes short of a required three-fourths' majority. 

Mercury Marine says it still plans to go ahead with its $30 million expansion -- but at a slower pace. The company says the project would add around 300 jobs. 

It hoped to secure the loan, plus forgiveness of $1,000 for each job added, up to a maximum of 300.

Job credits were to be paid back with excess proceeds from a county sales tax -- and Mercury would have paid back the county by the time the sales tax is due to end in 2021. 

Fond du Lac County has been collecting a special sales tax for Mercury Marine since 2009, as part of a number state and local tax incentives designed to keep the company from leaving for Oklahoma. 

Instead, Mercury's Oklahoma operations moved to Wisconsin, fueling large growth at its Fond du Lac facility.