County OKS $2.2M share of waste­water fa­cil­ity loan

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - DANIELLE EVER­SON deverson@cov­news.com

The New­ton County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers at its meet­ing Tues­day ap­proved a res­o­lu­tion and in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal agree­ment for a $5.9 mil­lion GEFA loan that will help to fund a waste­water pre­treat­ment fa­cil­ity for Bax­ter In­ter­na­tional.

In April, the Joint Devel­op­ment Author­ity of Jasper County, Mor­gan County, New­ton County and Wal­ton County en­tered into an in­duce­ment agree­ment with Bax­ter to lo­cate its bi­o­log­ics man­u­fac­tur­ing, sup­port and distri­bu­tion cen­ter in Stan­ton Springs, which in­cluded fund­ing $7.9 mil­lion for a waste­water treat­ment fa­cil­ity on the site of Bax­ter.

The JDA re­ceived $2 mil­lion of fund­ing from its One Ge­or­gia EDGE Grant and $5.9 mil­lion from the Ge­or­gia En­vi­ron­men­tal Fi­nance Author­ity.

The ap­proved res­o­lu­tion gives the chair­man the author­ity to ex­e­cute the in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal con­tract with JDA, Jasper, Mor­gan and Wal­ton coun­ties and the doc­u­ments nec­es­sary to carry out ob­tain­ing the GEFA loan.

Ac­cord­ing to the in­ter­gov­ern­men­tal con­tract, New­ton and Wal­ton coun­ties will be

re­spon­si­ble for re­pay­ing the author­ity 37.5 per­cent or about $2.2 mil­lion each. Mor­gan County will be re­spon­si­ble for re­pay­ment of 15 per­cent and Jasper County for 10 per­cent of the loan.

Ac­cord­ing to the re­quested GEFA loan terms, there will be a 0 per­cent in­ter­est rate re­quired for the loan dur­ing con­struc­tion, which is es­ti­mated to take place from 2013 to 2014; a 1.8 per­cent in­ter­est rate on the loan for post con­struc­tion; amor­ti­za­tion for 30 years; and no pay­ments un­til the start of the tax abate­ment pe­riod, which is ex­pected to start be­tween 2018 and 2020.

The JDA author­ity, Wal­ton and Mor­gan coun­ties have all ap­proved the res­o­lu­tion and the agree­ment. New­ton BOC Chair­man Kathy Mor­gan said the Jasper County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers will vote on the res­o­lu­tion and the agree­ment at its board meet­ing in Jan­uary.

New­ton County Water and Sew­er­age Author­ity Di­rec­tor Mike Hop­kins said the waste­water treat­ment fa­cil­ity will be owned and op­er­ated by Bax­ter. He said the fa­cil­ity will be for pre­treat­ment pur­poses.

“Bax­ter will be de­liv­er­ing high-strength waste and it needs to be treated to a cer­tain level be­fore it is ac­cepted by the author­ity and then taken to fi­nal treat­ment,” Hop­kins said. “That loan was some­thing that the author­ity was not a part of, but it is a re­quire­ment from us to have the waste­water coming from Bax­ter to be treated to a cer­tain level where our sys­tems can ac­cept it. So that’s what that plant is for.

“If you had waste­water that was say 300 in strength and the plant that you had would only treat it at 200 and be­low, then the one thing you would need to do would be to make sure that when you dis­charged your waste­water to us that you had it at a strength that was 200 and be­low in or­der for our treat­ment plant to work prop­erly,” Hop­kins said.

“It’s just an­other level of treat­ment and some­thing that we are re­quir­ing of them to do.”

Hop­kins said Bax­ter will have an en­gi­neer and group who will de­sign and con­struct the water treat­ment fa­cil­ity on site. He said the fa­cil­ity is solely for Bax­ter and not for any­body else’s use.

Bax­ter In­ter­na­tional will in­vest $1 bil­lion and gen­er­ate 1,500 jobs, with an av­er­age an­nual salary of $60,000. It will man­u­fac­ture med­i­cal equip­ment and pro­duce plasma-based drugs for he­mo­philia and other blood-based dis­or­ders, as well as other med­i­cal con­di­tions.

The global med­i­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing plant will lo­cate on 162-acres of the 1,620-acre Stan­ton Springs in­dus­trial park, which is jointly owned by New­ton, Wal­ton, Mor­gan and Jasper coun­ties.

The state and the Joint Devel­op­ment Author­ity have put to­gether an in­cen­tive package that to­taled about $200 mil­lion or more, $94 mil­lion of which will come in the form of lo­cal prop­erty tax abate­ments, for Bax­ter. The plant is ex­pected to be up and run­ning by 2018.

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