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Tax breaks help create 310 new jobs in Hawkins

Jeff Bobo • Nov 27, 2008 at 12:00 AM

ROGERSVILLE — Three tax abatements approved Wednesday by the Hawkins County Industrial Board are helping pave the way for the creation of more than 300 new jobs in the county thanks to one factory start-up and two factory expansions.

AGC Industries, formerly AFG Industries, will be rebuilding a glass manufacturing line at its Church Hill plant and upgrading other processes with an investment in new equipment of $34.6 million. That investment will create an additional 120 jobs by 2010. The company currently employs about 250.

The U.S. Fence plant in Bulls Gap will also be expanding its manufacturing capabilities with an investment of $1 million in real estate and $30 million in new equipment. That project is expected to create 80 new jobs by the end of next year.

The U.S. Fence employment level at its Bulls Gap plant currently varies around 700.

The Sam Dong factory start-up actually took place in April with the opening at the Rogersville Industrial Park at the site of the old Assured Casting plant. Sam Dong, which manufactures flat copper wiring used mainly for transformers, has reach an employment level of approximately 110 since opening its doors.

Sam Dong’s 2008 investment in Hawkins County includes $20 million in equipment and $2 million in real estate.

“I’m very excited about these projects, with the economy like it is, and here we are seeing new jobs created,” Hawkins County Industrial Developer Lynn Lawson said. “The biggest benefit is the creation of about 310 new jobs, especially when you look at the manufacturing jobs we’ve lost over the past few years. But with these projects the county is looking at an additional $1.5 million in new property tax revenue over the next 10 years, and that’s after the companies have received their abatements.”

The 10-year tax abatements approved Wednesday by the Industrial Board were for both personal property (equipment) and real estate for both Sam Dong and U.S. Fence, and for the personal property only on the AGC project.

Lawson said the personal property abatements on these new investments amount to 50 percent of the personal property taxes due for all three businesses the entire 10 years, while the property tax abatements will decrease by 10 percent every year for 10 years, beginning with 10 percent due and ending at 100 percent.

The total real and personal tax cuts for Sam Dong over the 10-year period will be about $442,000.

AGC’s abatement will save the company $567,573 in personal property taxes over 10 years.

U.S. Fence’s real and personal tax cut over the 10-year period is slightly over $549,000.

“That gives them a chance at the very beginning of the project to try to retire some of the debt on their new investment,” Lawson said. “These tax abatements are really a great tool for encouraging industrial expansions like this and the creation of new jobs, while at the same time helping ensure that the companies are going to succeed with their projects and remain profitable, and keep these jobs in our county for many years to come.”

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