Bibb County is one of two finalists for a $200 million manufacturing plant that could bring 200 jobs, officials said Tuesday.
Chip Cherry, president of the Macon Economic Development Commission, said the manufacturer likely will make a decision in six to eight weeks. The publicly traded company is eyeing only one other site, which is outside Georgia but is in the Southeast.
The company is publicly known only as Project R to limit information to avoid spoiling the deal, Cherry said. His office has been talking with the company since July.
The Bibb County Board of Commissioners agreed to spend $400,000 toward grading and clearing the site. Cherry said Gov. Sonny Perdue knows about the company’s recruitment, and Perdue has committed to an undisclosed amount of funding to sweeten the deal.
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Cherry said most employees would come from the midstate, though the company likely would transfer some higher-level management employees to work here.
“The bulk of the people would be hired from within the region,” he said. Wages would be higher than the average manufacturing job, he said.
Pat Topping, senior vice president of the Macon Economic Development Commission, said the company likely will decide between Bibb County and the out-of-state site in the next two months. The county money for preparing the site wouldn’t be required until the third quarter of the year, he said.
Topping said a Middle Georgia Regional Commission study showed the project could generate $5 million a year in property taxes and $27,000 a year in sales taxes.
Bibb County commissioners embraced the news in a Tuesday morning work session. They indicated they plan to set aside the money in their next budget.
“I think we need to do this. This is something that’s needed for our community. We need to bring those jobs in here,” Commissioner Joe Allen said.
Cherry said other efforts to bring businesses continue. Among them is a planned $225 million Kumho tire plant in south Bibb County that is still set to open in 2013. Cherry’s organization also is pursuing projects including “Project Q,” which could bring a 1 million-square-foot manufacturing and distribution center to Avondale Mill Road. The $35 million project would replace a 300,000-square-foot facility, state records show.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.