General Cable — one of the largest manufacturers of electric utility cable, powering the world — has submitted an application for tax abatement to Harrison County to support new expansion plans.
The application comes five years after General Cable broke ground on additional space by expanding the company’s Scottsville facility in Harrison County by 110,000 square feet.
The latest expansion plans call for an additional $50 million investment, and the creation of 75 more jobs.
“They are expanding that facility,” explained County Judge Chad Sims.
“It’s an additional $50 million investment,” he said.
The Harrison County Commissioners Court unanimously approved, on Tuesday, to accept the application.
Judge Sims noted that he along with Pct. 2 Commissioner Zephaniah Timmins and County Tax Assessor Veronica King are members of the tax abatement review committee. He noted that committee members met regarding the tax abatement application and were all on board in supporting it.
“It is a roughly $50 million abatement for seven years,” said Sims. “The committee agreed to be very aggressive to let General Cable know that we want them to stay here, and grow here.
“They will be committed to the creation of 75 additional long-term jobs,” said Sims, expounding on how significant the job creation is for the county.
The county judge said the expansion will also be helpful to Marshall ISD, who will suffer a loss of revenue when Pirkey Power Plant closes. American Electric Power (AEP) that runs the coal-fired power plant announced in November 2020 its plans to shut down the 580-megawatt Pirkey Plant in Hallsville in 2023.
“We’re expecting Marshall ISD to lose about a million dollars when the Pirkey Power Plant closes down, and this additional $50 million (from General Cable’s expansion) will give them about $500,000 in new revenue,” said Sims. “So it’s going to be a real blessing to our school district, which we were happy about; plus creating 75 jobs.
“There was no negative comment about this at all in our committee,” he said.
Commissioner Timmins noted that the jobs are expected to pay $18 to $25 an hour. Timmins expressed his support of the project, as well, on behalf of the tax abatement review committee.
“One of the reasons why we went so aggressive is because we did not want to lose out to another plant,” said Timmins. “Just like before there are other options that they can take with other plants, and we want that business to grow here in Harrison County.
“We would like for other manufacturing jobs to see how aggressive we are here in Harrison County, and hopefully they will move their businesses here as well,” he added.
Pct. 1 Commissioner William Hatfield concurred. He commended General Cable for always fulfilling their commitments.
“These folks are partners and they keep their word,” he said. “I know they are trustworthy in what they’re saying they’re going to do for us.”
Judge Sims also praised General Cable for being “a good community partner”.
“We want not only General Cable to know, but every other business to know that we are a pro-business court, and we are eager to help businesses locate right here,” Sims said, echoing Timmins’ sentiments.
Pct. 4 Commissioner Jay Ebarb agreed.
“I think it’s pretty evident in the last two years, as a commissioners court, we’ve given over $300 million in abatements,” said Ebarb.
He recalled the abatement agreement approved in February 2020 to promote expansion projects for Eastman Chemical Company and Air Liquide Large Industries US LP, as well as past agreements approved to support General Cable’s growth.
“So we’ve now been on the east side of the county with General Cable and the west side with Eastman, so I think it’s pretty evident that as a commissioners court, in Harrison County, that we’re pretty aggressive and we want you to stay here and create jobs for our citizens in the county,” said Ebarb. “Hopefully out of those 75 (additional) jobs at General Cable, we’ll have a large number of those that are Harrison County residents that, in the long run, are going to stay here and raise families and buy a home.”
“If we’re not aggressive, we’re going to be like a lot of other counties,” Ebarb continued. “We’re going to slowly fold up and die; so I think this is a great move for the county and our citizens and taxpayers. I think it’s a great move on our part, as a commissioners court, to be aggressive and try to maintain these companies and any improvements and growths.”
According to the Tax Code, the proposed area of expansion must be established as a reinvestment zone before a county can even enter a tax abatement agreement. Thus, the court approved the renewal of the designation of Harrison County Reinvestment Zone, CGI No. 1, effective March 28, and terminating March 28, 2026 with the actual territory included in the original reinvestment zone for General Cable to remain the same.
“These reinvestment zones, you have to create a reinvestment zone to allow for our tax abatement to be in that zone. They still have an active (zone) from 2016,” explained Sims. “This year it is time for us to renew that reinvestment zone; it will be good for another five years. So that’s all this is doing is renewing that reinvestment zone. It takes in the General Cable properties.”
Additionally, the court approved to set a public hearing on the proposed tax abatement agreement. The public hearing will be Sept. 14 during the commissioners court’s regular scheduled meeting at the 1901 Harrison County Historical Courthouse.