A Business Friendly Atmosphere and Jobs—At What Cost?
January 18, 2014
We have all heard and read about the new Norton plant being constructed in the Industrial Park in Monticello. Norton will supposedly hire 18-20 people when it opens and maybe as many as 40 in the next 10 years according to what the economic development authority lawyer told the judge at the bond hearing.
Do you know what those jobs cost the taxpayers? Here’s a quick run down:
State Incentives $2,323,336
County SPLOST funds $ 150,000
City SPLOST funds $ 500,000
Econ Dev Bonds $2,600,000
EIP Grant (DCA) $ 500,000
USDA Grant $ 85,000
EDGA Grant (State) $ 81,000
Waiver of tap fees for water, sewer, and electric ???
Waiver of all county inspection fees ???
NO Property taxes on the building, since it will be kept in the name of the Dev. Authority of Jasper County for a period of 10 years– $43,884 per year x 10 years
=$ 438,840 (see more below on tax incentives and savings)
Total known incentives $6,016,667 ($150,417 per job for 40 jobs)
When citizens are sold on an economic development venture they are always told this will help lower our property taxes. So how does that work when we are paying for all the incentives through federal and state income taxes and the company doesn’t have to pay property taxes for 10 years? And in this particular case, if they do have to pay property taxes, it will be paid to the Development Authority of Jasper County and not to the schools, county or city!
NORTON TAX INCENTIVES
Based on the Savings Schedule in the documents, Norton will pay no property taxes on the building ($2,600,000 value) in 2014, but their tax liability will increase by 10% each year until year 11 when they will pay 100% of the property taxes. HOWEVER, if they buy enough equipment (supposedly $3,000,000 worth), they will pay personal property taxes on this amount and by paying these taxes, they will get credits to offset any property taxes they do owe from years 2-10.
So, what does this cost the taxpayers of the county?
$2,600,000 x 40% = $1,040,000 taxable value.
County millage 15.446 x taxable value = $16,064
City millage 6.91 = $ 7,186
School millage 18.990 = $19,750
Hospital millage .85 = $ 884
Total cost in taxes per year = $43,884
For 10 years =$438,840
(assuming no increases in the millage rates and not taking into account depreciation)
And if by chance Norton does have to pay some property taxes, notice who these taxes are paid to on the Incentives Table, NOT the county, city, school, etc., but to the Economic Development Authority!!
Jasper County citizens alone are putting up $438,840 in taxes and $650,000 in SPLOST monies. We will not be saving any money on our property taxes as promised and there is no guarantee that any percentage of the 18-20 or even 40 jobs will go to Jasper County citizens. If for any reason Norton leaves, the property owners will also be paying the bond payments at $21,773 per month –Norton will pay them as lease payments for at least 10 years—the term of their lease. (The bond payments are set for 15 years.)
The citizens of the county were never told all the details of the Norton deal. Economic development is a secret until it happens, and then the citizens find out about it when they get the bill. With the secretiveness of the current BOC we can only expect more surprises with their big price tag in the future.