– In May, we addressed some significant (and positive) news at Gadsden’s Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plant. Its protected status was extended, a new product line was promised and there was the hope of additional capital investment by the company.
Well, there’s more big news — an addendum that, as 2015 winds down (the calendar pages certainly have turned fast this year), should promote optimism for everyone connected with the city’s largest individual employer.
Last week, the City Council approved abatements on non-educational property, sales and use taxes on money Goodyear plans to spend on an expansion at the plant. Construction is under way on the project, and it is expected to be completed a year from now.
The 7,500-square-foot project will, according to the Gadsden-Etowah County Industrial Development Authority, allow the plant to produce more “high complexity manufactured consumer tires” and better supply rubber products to the company’s Consumer Products Division.
It will cost $30.1 million, more than 90 percent of it going toward new manufacturing machinery. The expansion will add 87 new jobs — the employees already have been hired and are being trained — with a payroll of nearly $5.2 million at the plant, which already employs roughly 1,400 people.
About $17.3 million of the project’s cost usually would be subject to taxes. The bottom-line cash that will be abated is projected at $816,000.
Pulling out the scales and placing an $816,000 investment on one side and 87 jobs and $5.2 million in new payroll on the other, this is an easy call.
We understand that Goodyear has dipped into this well before. We also hear those who grumble about incentives to land or keep companies lowering the tax base available for the public good. As we’ve often pointed out, though, that’s the reality municipal and county governments face these days, plus protections are in place here. Again, no education money will be touched, and the sales and use tax abatements end when the project is operational.
It is in the city’s interest — it is in Etowah County’s and Alabama’s interests — to make any reasonable accommodations to keep that plant on Meighan Boulevard running. This move wasn’t just reasonable, it was smart