Bibb County might have missed out on landing a new industry, but at least it gets to hold onto $400,000 in reserves.
Washington-based Clearwater Paper announced last week that it will build a $250 million tissue plant in Shelby, N.C. Just how big a player Bibb County was is not clear — the company’s board of directors didn’t approve the expansion until last month — but the county’s bid was serious enough to get a project name, “Project Shark,” and $400,000 in reserve funds earmarked in the proposed budget.
That was until Thursday, when Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart said the planned contribution was off and the then-unidentified project had fallen through.
“That’s one we’re going to miss,” Hart said at a budget hearing.
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Chip Cherry, president/CEO of the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce, said North Carolina wooed the new industry with incentives that included tax breaks passed by the state legislature.
“We put together a competitive package,” Cherry said. “That’s not something we could really compete with.”
Cherry said Bibb County remains in the running for at least two prospects — code-named “Project Q” and “Project R.”
Project Q has been described by local officials as a company that plans to develop a $35 million, 1 million-square-foot manufacturing and distribution facility that would be built in phases.
“Project R” is a $200 million manufacturing plant that could bring 200 jobs, Bibb County is said to be one of two finalists.
Cherry said an announcement on one of those projects could come as early as “the middle of next month.”
“They’re both still in play,” he said.
Also, the County Commission voted Tuesday to authorize the Middle Georgia Regional Commission to apply for a $500,000 Employment Incentive Program grant on the county’s behalf.
Cherry said that money would be used for road work and water line extension, but he declined to identify which one.
Staff writer Mike Stucka contributed to this story. To contact writer Rodney Manley, call 744-4623.