Phoenix Air to expand operations, hire additional workers
by Brande Poulnot
Oct 07, 2010 | 3830 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Phoenix Air Group Inc., a certified air carrier based in Cartersville, is planning to construct a 45,000-square-foot facility to modify aircraft and add 35 to 50 new jobs.

At a Wednesday public meeting, Commissioner Clarence Brown approved an Economic Incentive Program grant application through the Georgia Department of Community Affairs that would fund infrastructure improvements for the facility.

"There's certain infrastructure we're going to have to put there, out at the airport, including a road and water lines serving that facility," County Administrator Steve Bradley said, adding the improvements would be a joint project between the city of Cartersville and Bartow County, as is the airport.

Officials have not yet determined the costs of additional infrastructure, and the project could move forward with septic systems instead of a sewer line. The amount of grant funding available also is unknown.

The grant program provides up to $500,000 to local governments for three primary uses -- installation of public infrastructure to support eligible economic development projects, loan of proceeds to a sub-recipient industry to finance various fixed assets to be used with eligible economic development projects and support for local development entities and other local non-profit corporations that assist low and moderate income persons to acquire employment, employment skills and/or basic educational training, according to DCA's website. EIP projects must create or retain employment principally for low- and moderate-income persons.

Bradley added Phoenix Air would construct the aircraft modification complex on the east side of the runway, but Phoenix Air Airport Operation Manager Fritz Dent said the company would release a statement about its expansion after it receives Federal Aviation Administration approval for the building.

According to its website, Phoenix Air provides various aviation services, including executive charters, air cargo, air ambulances and flight instruction.

The commissioner also:

* Extended the deadline for Vista Metals' bond issuance for financing to Nov. 30. New to Bartow County, Vista Metals Corporation is constructing a smelting operation in Adairsville and plans to hire an initial 50 employees.

The commissioner last year applied and qualified for Recovery Zone Economic Recovery Bonds and Recovery Zone Facility Bonds under the federal stimulus package and in March designated the county a Recovery Zone. The funding mechanism targets areas affected by job loss and secures companies relocating to those areas a preferential interest rate.

VMC, which manufactures metal parts for various industries, took advantage of the opportunity and chose to locate its operation in an existing facility on Martin Luther King Drive in Adairsville.

"We have completed the bond validation process for them. We anticipate finalizing the financing in November," County Attorney Boyd Pettit said. " ... They have received the additional allocation from the state for the additional tax-exempt financing, which is an incredible thing. You've seen they are beginning to ramp up their employment.

"I think the total new jobs when we first met with them was 60. That number I now hear probably will be increased some. They are anticipating additional operations to take place there on that site in Adairsville."

In March, the aluminum alloy producer planned to invest $25 million in the old Foley Products Company concrete production property, including equipping and retrofitting the facility. The bonds, issued through municipal economic development agencies, are to be repaid by VMC with no costs to the county or taxpayers.

* Declared county property surplus and authorized its sale through GovDeals Internet Auction Service.

* Appointed Patrick Nelson to replace Ricky Woods on the Bartow County Planning Commission.

* Renewed a contract with Traylor Business Services Inc. to continue county personal property arbitration and appeal consulting for the tax assessor's office.

* Amended the county's service delivery strategy for water and sewer, adjusting sewer service areas for the cities of White and Emerson and water service areas for the cities of White, Emerson and Kingston.

* Disposed of county right-of-way on Kay Road and authorized a quit claim deed.

* Re-appointed Keith Wood to the Construction Appeals Board.

* Amended the Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Ordinance to adhere to state mandates.

* Amended the Stormwater Management Ordinance to adhere to state mandates.