All corporate decisions will be dependent on future demand and market conditions but the Cartersville-Bartow County Joint Development Authority approved proposals for bond capacity up to $880 million for Toyo Tire and $30 million for TTNA, the entity over Toyo's warehousing, to be applied toward expansion over the next 10 years.
"Toyo Tire has plans to expand their facilities. They have come to the Authority to ask us for a bond issue for those plans, basically for $910 million of new buildings, equipment and facilities to go in through 2020. Today, the Authority approved Toyo to have the right to exercise those bonds. It doesn't mean they will but they do have the right to do so, and we expect to hear back from them in the next few weeks whether they take up that offer," said Keith Lovell, JDA legal counsel.
Toyo executives will finalize decisions after financing options are gathered from facilities across the globe. Final word on which location will receive the intended growth is expected after the first of the year.
The expansion could cumulate in a total of 1,370 jobs for the facility in White. That is 470 new positions in the next 10 years in addition to the approximately 700 current employees and 200 new positions announced in September.
Although long-term plans are unsure and subject to several factors, including corporate approval and market conditions, those familiar with the matter are optimistic about at least a portion of the bond allowance being used for more immediate purposes.
"As Toyo has told us in the process, they feel comfortable that they're going to do what they consider phase one of this particular abatement, which is somewhere between $300 [million] and $450 million and that will be done over the next five to seven years. The second half of this abatement is for what will happen from 2017 to 2020 and that is based upon what the market is at that time. Whether that point happens or not, we'll just have to wait and see. The first part we all feel pretty comfortable will be happening," Lovell said.
As was constructed in the initial financing of Toyo's Bartow County facility, a Payment In Lieu Of Taxes program will be initiated as incentive to phase in taxes. Also initiated with this approval was a new Memorandum of Understanding that sets forth certain standards, including jobs requirements. Toyo will be expected to create a certain number of jobs for each predetermined percentage of bond issuance used.
"We're hopeful that the market will continue to demand the product that they make and that they'll keep employing people here," Cartersville-Bartow County Department of Economic Development Director Melinda Lemmon said. "I wish them to grow as rapidly as they are willing and able to grow and these inducement resolutions give them that capacity to respond to the market when it comes along."
The significance of this possible expansion generated earnest excitement as the announcement was made Tuesday. The size of such a capital investment in addition to the existing facility would place its value at well over $1 billion placing its economic impact among the highest in state history, Lemmon said.
"This is incredibly significant. I dare say it is the largest project the state of Georgia may have seen except maybe Kia. Certainly one of the largest projects Bartow County has seen and we're honored that they're here and that they want to continue to grow here. ... I am so honored that they are considering doing this in Bartow County. They have other plants around the world. They have a new plant in China, we want these resources to come to Bartow County as opposed to any other location that they have. And I'm hopeful that these bonds will help position our Bartow County plant to be competitive for those resources."
The JDA's regular monthly meeting included more good news in reference to the awaited approval of certifications that will increase incentives among new and existing industry. Highlands 75, the 707-acre, master planned industrial complex on Cass-White Road, received recognition as Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development. This will serve to set the property in a small class of real estate certified by a cooperation of private and public organizations known as Georgia Allies for statewide economic development.
"The GRAD certification that we've been working on for two years has finally come through," Lemmon said. "Highlands 75 is Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development, this GRAD certification represents one of a handful of sites in the state of Georgia. It will get an extra marketing boost from the state, in particular from the governor's office, when he goes abroad he can talk about GRAD certification."
Another certification gained recently was the final approval of two areas of Cartersville designated as Less Developed Census Tracts. This designation enables businesses within these areas to qualify for tax credits for job creation.
"One of the key rewards for this is not only the credits that can be applied against 100 percent of the company's income tax liability, but for the first time Bartow County has a tool that allows companies to use credits against withholding taxes and that's significant," Lemmon said.
Informational sessions for this program will be scheduled in the near future for interested employers. Another tax credit program rewarding job creation lies in Opportunity Zones, which several municipalities throughout Bartow are pursuing. The city of Cartersville expects to receive approval for their application in coming weeks.
"This is a big deal for tax credits for existing industry. These [Less Developed Census Tracts] encompass a lot of our existing industries. The opportunity zones are smaller and perhaps not as much of our existing industry but this really is a good boost for folks who are trying to add jobs and right now we need folks adding jobs. ... Every program we can find, every incentive system, we need to be taking advantage of," said James Jarrett, JDA chairman, adding that all of Tuesday's announcements work toward the ultimate goals of the Authority by fostering economic development and creating jobs.
"In this day and age with the economic issues we've had over the last two or three years for us to be able to play a role in helping our local companies finance their expansions and to be able to grow their businesses and to add jobs to our community, you know that's the highest and best purposes for this Authority and for the governmental groups that are a part of supporting it. This is the kind of things we need to be doing, making it easier for existing industry and for new industry to come in here and add to our job base and add to our economic base. It is very exciting and the possibilities are exciting," Jarrett said.