Baxter loan agreement approved by BOC

COVINGTON -- County commissioners approved Tuesday night a resolution and intergovernmental contract related to a $5.9 million GEFA loan to fund a portion of a wastewater pretreatment facility for Baxter International.

Funding of up to $7.9 million for an onsite wastewater pretreatment facility was part of an inducement agreement signed by the Joint Development Authority and Baxter in April. The JDA has obtained a $2 million One Georgia EDGE grant, and the other $5.9 million will be funded through a loan from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority.

The resolution approved by the board authorizes the chairman to execute the intergovernmental agreement with the JDA, Jasper, Morgan and Walton counties and any documents needed to obtain the loan.

Newton County's portion of debt service payments is 37.5 percent, or a total of about $2.2 million. Walton is also responsible for 37.5 percent, Morgan for 15 percent and Jasper for 10 percent, according to the agreement. Those are the same percentages agreed upon for debt service payments on the purchase of the Stanton Springs park and revenues generated from development there.

The interest rate on the loan will be zero percent during construction, expected to take place in 2013 and 2014; and 1.8 percent after construction, with a 30-year amortization. Payments won't start until some time between 2018 and 2020.

The JDA, Morgan and Walton counties have also approved the resolution and agreement. The Jasper County BOC is expected to vote in January.

Baxter will invest $1 billion and bring 1,500 new jobs to the state. The facility will manufacture plasma-based therapies that treat chronic and life-threatening illnesses. The operation will also include warehouse and distribution facilities.

Baxter has purchased approximately 160 acres in the more than 1,600 acre Stanton Springs park. Incentives to draw Baxter here on the state and local level were estimated at as much as $200 million.

Construction will be completed in 2015 or 2016, but due to various regulatory requirements that must be met, commercial production won't begin until 2018, a Baxer official said earlier this year.

In addition to the manufacturing facility, a bio-tech training center will be built and operated by Georgia Quick Start on the site.

The Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority will construct a wastewater treatment plant on property it owns at Stanton Springs to serve Baxter International, but until that's completed, wastewater will be pumped to the city of Covington's treatment facility nearly 9 miles away at the intersection of Ga. Highway 36 and Covington ByPass.

The Little River wastewater treatment plant will begin construction in 2016 and will come online in 2018, according to WASA Director Mike Hopkins. The plant, which will be located on 115 acres at the southernmost point of Stanton Springs, has been in the planning stages for four years and will serve not only Baxter but the entire Stanton Springs development and eastern Newton County. The Authority has already expended about $3 million on the project, which will cost a total of approximately $19 million, according to Hopkins. The treatment standards that will be in place are a reason the plant is so expensive, said Hopkins.

Baxter will pretreat water on site before it is transported to WASA's treatment plant. Hopkins said the water will undergo several stages of treatment and have to meet stringent local and state guidelines. Once treated, the water will be released into the Little River, he said.


Newtownqq 2 years, 11 months ago

Let the FREE RIDE begin! Baxter is currently getting over $200 million in tax incentives right off the bat over 10 years. We now are taking a LOAN out to pay for a new water treatment plant to support thier business. In addition Tommy Craig keeps speaking of how Bear Creek Dam is needed to support Baxter and other like business. Well the Cost to build the dam that I call BAXTER DAM, is projected at $62 million and its my guess that overruns with happen as we have seen with other unchecked SPLOST projects.

So lets add up all of the benifits that BAXTER will get over the next 10

$200 million $ 2.2 million $12 million

$218.2 million total Baxter benifits

Our BOC takes out loans for this comapny and who has to pay the debt? The people so this becomes a debt service project that SPLOST can pay! The BOC will not ever fix roads or bridges because no funds exist. So how are you going to pay for these loans, that mainly will provide a single company? Lets take out a loan or as Craig called it a morgatge and fix our roads! Seems GA is not intrested in taking care of citizen's needs just provide coperate America everything. That amounts to coperate food stamps!


The_Civil_Newtonian 2 years, 11 months ago

The support from State and local governments plus other entities will be returned ten fold or better in the long run for the community. You have to spend money to make money. Wastewater treatment is a viable need. Let's just make sure other people's unrelated pet projects don't mysteriously end up in the mix under the guise they are needed to acquire and retain Baxter.


John 2 years, 11 months ago

I would like to know what are the "guarantees' that Baxter International or any other company has made to actively Newton County to stay in Newton County beyond the ""free tax ride period" and make every attempt to achieve projected employment levels as fast as possible. Seems like the "stuff' they get from NC/GA & others are sure things (tax payer dollars but maybe the stuff they can can commit to is "iffy" or like trying to hang onto handfull of Jello when it is 95F outside. I recall all the "big" expectations that SKC reported but never came close to - things happen for sure but all those "freebies' are based on "optimistic " projections (or a sales job).
For many years I prepare years business plans - based on optimistic (economic conditions greatly exceed projections), most likely (if all goes well as projected) & worst case scenarios (things don't happen as projected and just go in the tank).


eyewitness 2 years, 11 months ago

I imagine they will try to live in Morgan for the schools or send their kids to Peachtree Christian if they even live in Newton or George Walton or Oconee Academy. I would live at Lake Oconee if I worked at Baxter wouldn't you? Oconee County versus Newton County ?? duh. Our Chamber of Commerce does an awful job I see no reason why the BOC does not cut their staff in half at least - Waffle House after Waffle House will not bring "exectuives" to Newton.


OnToday 2 years, 11 months ago

I agree with the notion that you have to spend money to make money. I fully understand the need to give companies incentives in order to lure them to your community. However, I struggle to see how Baxter will positively affect Newton County. We have no where to spend money. We have few decent restaurants, few shopping alternatives, no movie theatre, no source of entertainment..... If anyone wants to spend money they go to Rockdale or Walton County. WalMarts and Waffle Houses won't cut it. We need SERIOUS and intelligent investment in development in Newton County or we will be standing on the sidelines giving out tax freebies while the money is spent elsewhere.


dennistay53 2 years, 11 months ago

The cost of building facilities are only one of the cost. What worries me even more is the debt and the money it takes to run these facilities year after year. When you add up the interest and operation cost the true cost is achieved. By law SPLOST can't be used for operation and maintenence of these facilities. That cost will fall directly on the property owners. I can see a 20 mill or topped out county property tax very soon in Newton County, as we already see on the school board side. Then what will we do as more and more homes are walked away from and as less and less investment comes to our county due to high property tax and further lack of confidence in the governments management of Newton County. We already see libraries built that we can't pay to operate, schools built and teachers having to be laid off due to lack of money to operate.How will we be able to pay to run this stuff.


John 2 years, 11 months ago

Having read a lot of articles on the Baxter International project and people commenting on all these executives that will be moving into this area. Certainly, I have no clue how many "execs" will be moving in but common sense tells me it won't be a whole wagon train full. It seems that some people (The Chamber) are indicating there won't be enough high dollar living homes available - well places like Lochwoulde have a number of for sale signs on properties there & other similar subdivisions close to the Horse Park as well. And base on the published average income to be paid, there are plenty of homes available in the $180 to 200K range. Somewhere, it was indicated that the average pay will be in the range of $60K, which is substantial but that implies that some positions will pay less & others more. Further, one can safely speculate that these positions will require a higher than average skill sets, education, experience, training, etc. to be considered for employment. At an average income of $60K, years of experience in building homes (or other labor intensive position) might not cut the mustard. It would be nice if people from our county had an idea what Baxter might be looking for to determine to assess whether they have a "shot" at employment or have some time to acquire the experience or education before the hiring process starts. Kinda' like the Boy Scouts motto taught me "Be Prepared". Just for the record - I have done my "servitude" in the work place for 41 years and hung up my spurs in '07 but still have a boss named "She Who Must Be Obeyed". And in difference to what frequent poster "will" says I am not materially rich but we do get by do to prior planning, making adjustments and clip coupons.


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