The Newton County Board of Commissioners at their meeting Tuesday approved a resolution and intergovernmental agreement for a $5.9 million GEFA loan that will help to fund a wastewater pretreatment facility for Baxter International.
In April, the Joint Development Authority of Jasper County, Morgan County, Newton County and Walton County entered into an inducement agreement with Baxter to locate its biologics manufacturing, support and distribution center in Stanton Springs, which included funding $7.9 million for a wastewater treatment facility on the site of Baxter.
The JDA received $2 million of funding from its One Georgia EDGE Grant and $5.9 million from the Georgia Environmental Finance Authority.
The approved resolution gives the chairman the authority to execute the intergovernmental contract with JDA, Jasper, Morgan and Walton counties and the documents necessary to carry out obtaining the GEFA loan.
According to the intergovernmental contract, Newton and Walton counties will be responsible for repaying the authority 37.5 percent or about $2.2 million each. Morgan County will be responsible for repayment of 15 percent and Jasper County for 10 percent of the loan.
According to the requested GEFA loan terms, there will be a 0 percent interest rate required for the loan during construction, which is estimated to take place from 2013 to 2014; a 1.8 percent interest rate on the loan for post construction; amortization for 30 years; and no payments until the start of the tax abatement period, which is expected to start between 2018 and 2020.
The JDA authority, Walton and Morgan counties have all approved the resolution and the agreement. Newton BOC Chairman Kathy Morgan said the Jasper County Board of Commissioners will vote on the resolution and the agreement at its board meeting in January.
Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority Director Mike Hopkins said the wastewater treatment facility will be owned and operated by Baxter. He said the facility will be for pretreatment purposes.
"Baxter will be delivering high-strength waste and it needs to be treated to a certain level before it is accepted by the authority and then taken to final treatment," Hopkins said. "That loan was something that the authority was not a part of, but it is a requirement from us to have the wastewater coming from Baxter to be treated to a certain level where our systems can accept it. So that's what that plant is for.
"If you had wastewater that was say 300 in strength and the plant that you had would only treat it at 200 and below, then the one thing you would need to do would be to make sure that when you discharged your wastewater to us that you had it at a strength that was 200 and below in order for our treatment plant to work properly," Hopkins said.
"It's just another level of treatment and something that we are requiring of them to do."
Hopkins said Baxter will have an engineer and group who will design and construct the water treatment facility on site. He said the facility is solely for Baxter and not for anybody else's use.
Baxter International will invest $1 billion and generate 1,500 jobs, with an average annual salary of $60,000. It will manufacture medical equipment and produce plasma-based drugs for hemophilia and other blood-based disorders, as well as other medical conditions.
The global medical manufacturing plant will locate on 162-acres of the 1,620-acre Stanton Springs industrial park, which is jointly owned by Newton, Walton, Morgan and Jasper counties.
The state and the Joint Development Authority have put together an incentive package that totaled about $200 million or more, $94 million of which will come in the form of local property tax abatements, for Baxter. The plant is expected to be up and running by 2018.