Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority moves to woo new industry

The Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority approved moves Monday that it hopes will lure industrial prospects to town.

The authority agreed to offer a 15-year tax abatement on equipment for a prospect code-named “Project Chip,” a company looking to locate a manufacturing facility that would employ 300 people.

Also, the authority authorized an award for grading at a site for “Project Q,” with some stipulations about who would pay the costs should the project not go through. 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.

The two prospective industries are among about 30 courted last month by the Macon Economic Development Commission, Pat Topping, the commission’s senior vice president, told authority members.

Prospective companies are given project names during negotiations. Two companies visited Macon and Bibb County, Topping said. Project Chip made two visits, and “Project Keith,“ a new prospect possibly interested in locating an airplane maintenance facility at Middle Georgia Regional Airport, came once.

“There’s still a lot of good activity out there,” said Topping. “We have some good open projects.”

Another new target from last month is “Project Sol,” a manufacturer of solar panel parts, Topping said.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the authority approved a revised 2011 budget to account for 10 percent cuts in government funding from both the Macon City Council and the Bibb County Commission.

The cuts total almost $34,000 and will be offset by anticipated property and liability insurance at Allied Industrial Park properties, ditching equipment purchases and cost-of-living adjustments for staff, and other reductions, authority Executive Director Kathy Bowden said.

The authority’s new budget approved Monday is $394,773.

To contact writer Rodney Manley, call 744-4623.