The Development Authority of the City of Milledgeville and Baldwin County is working active projects with 716 possible jobs and $200 million community investment attached.
In Tuesday’s Milledgeville City Council work session, Development Authority Executive Director Matt Poyner said three or four projects covering areas such as advanced manufacturing, aerospace and alternative energy are almost complete. Baldwin County will have to wait a little longer for the big announcements.
“We are dealing with companies that are extremely secretive in what they are doing,” Poyner said. “Their corporate structure doesn’t want to talk about this stuff.”
An advanced manufacturing industry project open since last October with 75 new jobs and $10 million worth of investment is included in some of the potential good news.
Poyner said business retention surveys aiming to identify problems, issues and challenges with local industry gave “a good idea of what’s going on.”
Currently, 42 companies employing more than 2,000 have completed the surveys. Poyner said he wants to reach 100 companies by the end of the summer.
These business retention efforts revealed more positive job talk.
Development authority officials have learned that over the next three years existing industry expansions are expected to add 344 employees and a $69 million investment to the area.
Existing companies and businesses are happy with their employees as well.
“One hundred percent of industrial companies gave our workforce positive marks,” Poyner said Tuesday. “That’s even better knowing that we have the businesses here, and the workforce they have meets demand.”
• Industrial Park
The 44-acre site near Highway 22 should be complete this fall. Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) dollars for acquiring property and providing infrastructure improvements fund the work.
Poyner said of the 460 industrial park acres only 16 are “pad ready.” This means the land is flat and includes the proper infrastructure for an industry to move right to the build.
The under construction land visible from the highway will add to marketable inventory, according to Poyner.
“By the end of the fall that site is going to be flat, so site consultants can say ‘we can put our building here.’ If you don’t have the inventory ready these days, you are behind the eight ball,” Poyner said.
• Broadband connections
Poyner joined an area broadband steering committee working on accessibility.
Large-scale industries require this serious connectivity, so local expansion would boost the community’s appeal.
Poyner said apparently Milledgeville isn’t utilizing a huge untapped line.
“It’s something we can market because it’s an incentive to companies,” he said.
• Workforce dollars
Working with the Middle Georgia Consortium board, a local association of workforce development agencies, business leaders and other local partners seeking to improve the labor success of Middle Georgians, Poyner looks to bring more of the state’s $104 million workforce investment dollars to Baldwin County.
The total is spread among 26 state boards. Middle Georgia receives just $750,000.
Poyner said $500,000 of that total goes to Macon and Bibb County.
“It’s a huge resource that no one is tapping into,” he said to Council Tuesday. “This is money we could use to help companies pay for on the job training. It’s a huge asset we aren’t taking advantage of.”
Based on population and unemployment, Baldwin County should pull a “bigger chunk,” according to Poyner.
• Rheem Building
The development authority is still working on the vacant building. Poyner said it would be sold to a private developer “with deep pockets” by the end of the year.
Source: The Union Recorder