Gordon County Development Authority (GCDA) attorney Bill Thompson explained to commissioners and councilmember’s recently the company would obtain two PILOT agreements up to approximately $11 million in addition to a 10 year, standard tax abatement for the county, while paying 100 percent of the school tax to the city.
The PILOT agreements will serve to fund equipment upgrades as well as possible land upgrades as the company commits to at least 10 years of production in Calhoun.
Recently acquired from the Milliken Company, the Dixie Group took over the 200 Fair St. address on Nov. 2, 2012 with the only changes in employment being a new plant manager.
“The only employee we had to bring in was Lee Holson as plant manager,” said Chief Financial Officer of the Dixie Group, Jon Faulkner. “Holson started the day we acquired the facility and we are pleased with the way things are going.”
Faulkner says the company had incentive to choose the building due to the already modernized mechanics upgrades completed by Milliken.
Currently Dixie Group is performing additional internal mechanical equipment upgrades to the tune of $2.5 million to create even higher efficiency for dyeing operations.
Though the dyeing component of carpet manufacturing has seen a recent decline as of late, the Dixie Group plans to utilize more advanced dyeing techniques to be able to provide larger product selection for designer customers.
“Dyeing is critical to us,” said Faulkner “We will have a lot of dyeing for a long time to come.”
The upgrades are expected to be completed in early 2013, according to Faulkner, who says the plan is to have the plant fully up to speed by the end of 2013.
The City of Calhoun’s wastewater facility is expected to benefit from the internal equipment upgrades for Dixie Group’s dyeing operations, which results in increased wastewater use from the dyeing process.
According to City Councilmember David Hammond, when the carpet industry began to use the dyeing technique more frequently in the past the City of Calhoun built a wastewater facility to process 16 million gallons of wastewater a day.
“This allows us to use that facility at a higher capacity rate. The facility runs more efficiently when they can process heavier volumes,” Hammond said.
According to the Utilities General Manager, Larry Vickery, with the dyeing industry slipping away the facility is only processing 10 million gallons a day.
When Dixie becomes fully operational it is going to be producing about an extra one million gallons a day for the wastewater facility.
Hammond said this is not going to cost the taxpayers anything extra because the facility is going to run whether it is processing at 100 percent full or 10 percent full.
Dixie Group owned the same building it recently acquired from Milliken 10 years ago, according to Faulkner who says the past relationship with Gordon County made the option to come back to Calhoun appealing to the group.
The tax abatements and agreements with county and city will go before a judge to be finalized before being implemented before the first of the year.
“It’s exciting to have projects like this to work on,” said Thompson. “We are very excited Dixie Group decided to come back to Calhoun.”
Additional projects on the campus will depend on the production of the plant as it is filled, according to Faulkner, who says the company will keep its eye on distribution needs in the north Georgia area to determine if a distribution facility will be added in the future.
“The company is continuing operations and plans to expand which does make a brighter future for our community, this is really positive news,” said Gordon County Development Authority President Jimmy Phillips. “Hearing a commitment from a company that wants to be here says a lot for our community.”