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)

You can click on this link to see the documents for yourself.


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!



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.

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  1. lrshort says:

    It’s really sickening to think that behind the fickle facade of elected government we have the machinations of a predatory FIRE ( Finance, Insurance and Real Estate) sector bent on creating more opportunity to ply their the service via reckless and forced ,taxpayer funded growth.

    Back in 2008, we the people saw the great wizards of the Wall Street banks(albeit most assuredly not as great as the DAJC financial geniuses) set the US economy aflame with their reckless gambling ,which cost the US taxpayers 29 trillion dollars in bankster bail-outs….but I’m sure the local masters of finance are much better at their game than the Ivy league educated economists that ran the high and might investment banks of Wall Street

    Manufacturing corporations across American have become ecstatic over the lavish attention heaped upon their boards by the “the competition”, as the county manager likes to call other government bodies and their Public/Private partnership pips seeking a corporate hand in public debt. And, it is competition, but one that puts the financial interests of the gamblers above the taxpayers who inevitably stake their reckless game.

    What we have masquerading as economic development are in fact bidding wars instigated by paid performers endowed with the authority to risk the full faith and credit of the public trust in order to lay claim to securing a corporate contract at any cost.

    According to the county manager we Podunks are mere neophytes in the competitive sport of capital risk and reward and only need the guiding hand of one schooled in the esoteric
    arts of gambling with other peoples money to reach our potential Nirvana of rivers of tax revenue perpetually flowing form the corporate teat.

    ” …we were such neophytes in the game in-in the competitive economic development game where everybody is -well not everybody, but I know -I know of communities that has spec buildings in place in their industrial parks.” Karen Degges, County Manager

    Government is not a business.It is a social service and thus should be run as one.When government is run as a business, thus assuming the capital risk involved with private business, do not be surprised when your (taxpayer owned/operated business) goes belly up.

    With risk comes reward, but with risk also comes abject failure…but I’m sure It’s couldn’t happen here..right?

    A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of the truth.
    Albert Einstein
    Creating Scandals Instead of Jobs: The Failures of Privatized State Economic Development Agencies

    by Greg LeRoy, Thomas Cafcas, Leigh McIlvaine, Kasia Tarczynska and Philip Mattera

    October 2013

    The moves by some states to outsource economic development functions to “public-private partnerships” have, by and large, become costly failures characterized by misuse of taxpayer funds, conflicts of interest, excessive executive pay and bonuses, questionable subsidy awards, exaggerated job-creation claims, lack of public disclosure of key records, and resistance to basic oversight.

  2. Just Askin' says:

    Norton must be smart! They get $500,000 from the City and then use EMC instead of city uitilities. Everyone knows the reason we don’t have business in Monticello is because the utility rates are so high.

  3. gay morrison says:

    And yet it said “The Majority” of people want this. I am not buying in to that comment. There has been an ad running on TV, here of late. It is encouraging business to come to New York with these same incentives. There are folks upset about that in New York and I understand their frustrations. However, New York can better absorb these incentives much better than we folks here in Jasper County. With these incentives being offered there is no way that our property taxes are going to be lowered. They will only increase. Now if I am wrong, someone please explain to me how I am wrong.

  4. Tammy says:

    I don’t know this for a fact,but,my understanding is that they will also be allowed to use EMC for their electricity and not pay for City power.

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