Invista considering major facelift


April 26, 2010 at 3:05 p.m.
Updated April 25, 2010 at 11:26 p.m.

Invista is prepared to make a minimum $250 million investment in its Victoria plant to help it stay competitive and retain its more than 500 employees.

"If Invista is going to make some additional investment in Victoria County, that helps us and it helps everyone else," said Dale Fowler with the Victoria Economic Development Corp. "It also helps ensure they will stay here for a longer time."

County Judge Don Pozzi said the announcement, which was made in commissioners court Monday, is good news for the county. "As you know, that plant is a very significant investment in this community."

The commissioners court approved participating in the Texas Enterprise Zone Program to help Invista with its plans. The participation must then be approved by the state, something Fowler said would probably happen in June.

That approval would make Invista eligible for a chance to get back $3.7 million in state sales and use tax from the time it starts the project. There would be no county funds required and Invista did not seek a county property tax break.

"We're under way now in the planning process," said Darwin Koepp, the plant's site manager. "That will continue and it will progress over the next three to five years."

Koepp said there would be three different types of investments, allowing for everything from an improvement in equipment reliability to making long-term environmental health and safety commitments.

Fowler said there is no guarantee the plant will be approved for the sales and use tax refund.

"It is a competitive situation," he said. "It's based on points and scoring."

The court order approved Monday does state the county may provide such assistance as improved police and fire protection, road repairs, and improvements in water and sewer facilities.

But Pozzi said the county is under no obligation to do so.



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