Chamber says SKC kept promises

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON — Despite grumbling in the community for years that SKC Inc. did not live up to promises to the community made before it located a manufacturing facility here in 1996, Covington-Newton County Chamber of Commerce President Hunter Hall told the City Council on Monday night that the industry has made good on its investment commitment.

Hall said the confusion stems from a press release issued by SKC during the planning stages of the project, which stated the company would make a $1.5 billion investment and bring 1,000 jobs.

"That was their press release, not the deal that was inked," he said.

That agreement, which stated SKC would create 250 jobs and make a $396 million investment, has been realized, he said.

Hall presented a report that was generated in partnership with Snapping Shoals EMC on the local economic impact of SKC. Based on the report, SKC has created or supported 624 direct and indirect jobs since locating in Covington. In addition to the 250 jobs at the facility, another 374 jobs have been supported by the company, for a variety of services such as lawn care and pest control, Hall said. From 1996 to 2009, SKC paid $410 million in salaries for plant employees as well as those other indirect jobs, and spending generated by those employees totaled $73 million, according to the report.

The polyester film manufacturer has generated $34 million in taxable income, an average of about $2.5 million per year, Hall said. According to Mayor Kim Carter, it is the largest taxpayer in Newton County. Hall said that DeKalb Technical College located in Covington specifically to head up the Work Ready program for SKC.

"The ripple effect and halo effect of SKC is very, very, very significant," Hall said.

SKC is set to expand its Covington facility, promising a $100 million investment and the creation of 120 jobs. The new 200,000-square-foot facility will be constructed at the existing site off Hazelbrand Road. It will produce plastic film components for the solar panel industry and other products and will be constructed in two phases.

The state offered SKC an $8.5 million incentive package to expand in Georgia. The company was also looking at sites in other states, including Arizona and California. Local officials also offered a seven-year tax abatement for both phases of the build out, with the company to pay no taxes for the first three years and collections increasing incrementally by 25 percent the following four years.