The Cartersville-Bartow County Joint Development Authority entered into an agreement Tuesday with Toyo increasing bond capacity to $910 million with aims of adding 470 new jobs over the next 10 years.
Japan-based Toyo Tire requested the increased bond capacity last year for eventual and gradual expansions of the Toyo Tire North American Headquarters in White. The agreement between Toyo Tire and the Cartersville-Bartow County Joint Development Authority was signed at a press conference held at the Clarence Brown Conference Center.
Beginning production in 2006, Toyo Tire's Bartow County facility became the company's first consumer tire manufacturing plant outside of Japan, now employing more than 1,000 people. Increased bond capacity, signed into effect Tuesday, will allow Toyo to grow to nearly 1,400 employees by 2020.
"Our state still has an unacceptably high unemployment rate and job creation is my number one goal in this administration. So, being able to say that you have numbers of this size is a great step in the right direction," Deal said.
According to officials present Tuesday, Toyo has contributed $50 million to the local economy in payroll alone since their opening. Apart from direct employment figures associated with future expansion, the increased bond capacity allows for a potential capital investment nearing $1 billion. The effects of such an investment can pay dividends within the community and through the state, Deal said.
"Anytime that you have that kind of capital investment, there is spillover effect. It provides jobs for those that are in the construction business, and it has a ripple effect throughout the entire community and throughout the state," Deal said.
Headline grabbing expansions from international corporations such as Toyo may also bring attention to the state and region for further economic development. Local delegates, including State Rep. Christian Coomer, R-Cartersville, in attendance Tuesday echoed this belief.
"It shows that Bartow County has the right mix for economic development, job growth. We've got the right education base, the right community support and the right model that manufacturers are looking for in a community to invest in and expand in," Coomer said. "It shows that Bartow County is poised for growth ahead of some of its regional competitors."
Gratitude was not in short supply at the signing ceremony as speakers repeatedly thanked those involved in the recruitment and negotiation process to land the Toyo plant, which began primarily in 2004. Recognition was given to various officials and entities for their efforts, including sole Commissioner Clarence Brown, the city of White, Bartow County service providers, the city of Cartersville, Georgia Power, the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce and the Cartersville-Bartow County Joint Development Authority.
"This marks the culmination of a promise that was made not only by Toyo Tire but also by Bartow County, the city of White, all the entities that were involved," said State Rep. Paul Battles, R-Cartersville. "All of that came together. It was orchestrated well even though there were many, many pieces to it. It was put together with precision."
In addition to local powers and authorities, a large debt of gratitude was given to Georgia Quickstart, a training and education program operated by the Technical College System of Georgia. Jim Hawk, president of Toyo Tire North American Manufacturing, specifically noted the program's "key" role in bringing Toyo to the state of Georgia.
In bringing Toyo to northwest Georgia, Hawk said the company made a "bold move." The White location again had to prove its worth in the process of determining future growth as the local facility vied internationally against other Toyo plants for investment dollars, including recent expansions and acquisitions into China and Malaysia.
"We found ourselves in a unique position of competing internally for capital investment so the Joint Development Authority, without hesitation, stepped up and revised and simplified the existing memorandum of understanding and, in a very short period of time, created a much higher level of industrial revenue bonds," Hawk said. "That money will not be spent immediately, but over time, it will incrementally allow us to make quick decisions and continue to grow and it gives our parent company the confidence that the community and the state of Georgia are behind us."
Representing the Cartersville-Bartow County Joint Development Authority, Chairman James Jarrett recalled the efforts in securing Toyo and future expansions.
"This is an important day in the life of our community, our state and for Toyo Tire," Jarrett said. "I never realized what all it took to make things like this happen and it really takes cooperation of the state, the community and the region. It doesn't just occur, it takes vision, it takes planning, it takes leadership, and fortunately, we have that in our state as well as in our community."
Hawk stressed the importance of community, glad to bring jobs in today's economy and announcing donations in commemoration of the signing. Toyo Tire will donate a new set of tires for a Bartow County emergency response vehicle in addition to $5,000 for Bartow County Schools.
"We are very proud to be part of this community," Hawk said. "Our plan going forward is pretty simple, more exciting products, incremental growth, thanks to the higher amount of industrial revenue bonds and hire some more people."