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County approves tax abatements

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The Chambers County Commission approved two tax abatements Monday night that will allow one of the county’s biggest employers to keep up with the ever changing processes of the automotive industry.

Non-educational abatements were approved for AJIN USA and KMMG on tool and die equipment that will be installed at the AJIN plant located in the Chambers County Industrial Park in Cusseta. The new equipment is needed because of a body change of three models, the Kia Optima, the Kia Sorento and the Hyundai Santa Fe. KMMG will own the equipment that AJIN will use to make parts for the new models.

AJIN had requested sales and use abatements on $70.5 million in new equipment for a 10-year period and KMMG for $25.3 million for a five-year period.

Chambers County Development Authority Executive Director Valerie Gray was on hand to request the abatements from the commission on behalf of AJIN and KMMG. “It is costly to get companies here, but it is also costly to keep them here, and ensure their success,” Gray said. “A Tier 1 supplier is at its most vulnerable state when there is a retool or body style change. It is fairly easy for the OEM (original equipment manufacturer) to just go with another supplier, it they can’t keep up with demand, and retool and keep the costs down.”

Chambers County is home to several Tier 1 suppliers, including AJIN USA, Leehan America, Daedong Hi-Lex and Glovis GA.

“Recruiting companies to Chambers County requires a significant investment,” she added. “However, a successful recruitment is really the forming of a partnership between the company and the community and the recruitment does not stop once they announce. Granting an abatement represents our commitment to the company.”

Gray said the sales taxes going to the school system from the new equipment will amount to more than $500,000 in a one-time payment. The school system will realize approximately $250,000 annually in property taxes from the investment.

Following Gray’s request, the commissioners unanimously approved two resolutions for the abatements. “You are ensuring that these companies continue to thrive here in our county,” Gray said. “You are protecting our initial investments in our suppliers and you are demonstrating to our existing industries who so often are forgotten about that they are vital to our economy and Chambers County.”

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