Riverton approves $80K for company if it maintains 25 local employees

RIVERTON — An outdoor sports equipment company planning to move to Riverton must maintain at least 25 full-time employees in order to keep the economic development money it’s getting from the City of Riverton.

The Riverton City Council approved an agreement this week to give Kifaru International $80,000 in revenue generated from Fremont County’s half-percent sales tax for economic development.

The City of Riverton’s portion of the sales tax revenue is estimated at about $600,000 per year and must be spent on economic development projects.

The agreement with Kifaru notes that the company must employ no fewer than 25 people in Riverton “through a combination of relocated employees and newly hired employees … within one year of the date of this agreement.”

The employees must live in Fremont County, the agreement states, reiterating that “individuals working from distance or located outside of Fremont County shall not be calculated in the required staffing level.”

“This does have certain standards that need to be met with specific attention on the creation of jobs,” city administrator Tony Tolstedt told the council Tuesday. “We also, as a city, have the right to audit those, per the agreement, to make sure that they are meeting standards.”

The agreement states that Kifaru will “annually provide the city the number of (full-time) employees on July 1, and when otherwise requested, for a period of five years.” 

The company also will “provide payroll documentation, including but not limited to W2 and 1099 forms, to the city for the purpose of auditing (full-time) employees.”

Kifaru may only use the economic development funding to purchase equipment and inventory, or to expand its facilities, according to the agreement, which says the company must report to the city “any expansions of its facility as completed,” including “the amount of expenditures to any local contractors.”

If Kifaru fails to meet the standards and requirements of the agreement, the company may have to give back its economic development funding “at the sole discretion of the city and to the extent determined appropriate by the city, up to the total amount.”

Tolstedt said Kifaru is “working to move their business to Riverton” now, with plans to undertake “significant work over the winter” before “looking at the spring and early summer (to) have them here and in operation.”

“We would look forward to that,” he said.

The council approved the agreement unanimously, with no discussion.

Kifaru products include outdoor clothing, accessories, and equipment –– in particular custom-made backpacks that often require in-person customer fittings.