Crossroads economy on the move

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Nov. 25, 2017 at 2:45 p.m.
Updated Nov. 27, 2017 at 1 a.m.

The Crossroads appears to be moving out of an economic slump it has endured for the past couple of years.

The increase in sales tax refunds to the cities and counties and unemployment numbers decreasing, giving the region the lowest unemployment rate in many years, are two signs the economy is moving in the right direction.

Helping to make that move are the ongoing expansion at Formosa Plastics in Calhoun and Jackson counties and the recent announcement by Novus International that it plans to build a new plant that would make livestock food supplement. The plant would be next to Ineos Nitriles near Green Lake. The two plants would be partners.

Novus will invest $360 million in the plant, which will employ up to 600 workers during its peak construction time.

Although the plant will not be operational until late 2020, the company is already contributing to the economy as it prepares the land for construction. It has also established an office at the site as it goes through the permitting process.

When operational, the plant will create 65 new jobs - 60 will work at Ineos and the other five will be Novus employees who will provide the technology for the production.

Formosa, which has several expansion projects in progress, has about 1,800 construction workers on site now. That number is expected to peak at 3,000 next year.

These expansions will create more than 300 full-time jobs for Formosa to add to its existing 2,100 full time Formosa Plastics employees and 900 full-time resident contractor employees.

Novus' reasons for coming to the area include the area's talented workforce, natural resources and transportation infrastructure, including the rail system and the barge canal.

When companies begin looking at the area as a possible home for its business, these attributes are often the top of their reasons for picking the Crossroads.

We, as a community, are fortunate to have companies, large and small, operate in the area that provide good-paying jobs to the dedicated workforce that calls the area home.

We are also fortunate to have organizations such as the Victoria Economic Development Corporation that work tirelessly to promote not only Victoria but also the entire Crossroads. They know everyone, including retail outlets, the schools and communities, benefits when a new business comes to the area.

As an example, during the first 20 years of operation, Novus officials estimate the plant will attract about $9 million in new residential property. This increase will mean more people living here, which will generate more property taxes for taxing entities to improve infrastructure and schools.

In that same time period, the company also anticipates paying about $71 million in property taxes to public entities in Calhoun County.

That money will spread across the region as employees buy homes, vehicles or leisure crafts. It will also help educate a new generation of workers.

This is the type of growth the region needs to continue to attract more businesses.

Such growth is why we get excited when new businesses, like Novus, announce plans to move here.

We also get excited when existing businesses like Formosa announce expansion plans.

This opinion reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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