Athens Review, Athens, Texas

October 2, 2012

AEDC discusses Champion Homes incentive package

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — The Athens Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors took no action Monday on amending an incentive package designed to entice Champion Homes to expand its operation in the city.

Board members hope to have a Champion official present at a future AEDC meeting before making a decision on the incentive offer.

Champion and its manufactured housing factory was once a major employer in the city. The Michigan-based corporation eventually closed its Athens plant, but reappeared with the purchase of Athens Park Homes in January.

At a September AEDC meeting, Champion approved a $171,000 incentive package to be paid to the company over a 2-year period. The proposal stated that a $24,000 incentive would be paid after Champion submits invoices documenting equipment purchase.

If the equipment purchases do not exceed $500,000, then no capital expenditure incentive will be paid.

The AEDC proposal also offered job-creation incentives for all employees working at the Athens facility. Based on the number of proposed jobs, the incentive would total $147,000, in equal installments over a 2-year period.

The AEDC presented the plan to the City Council, and ran into opposition.

After a discussion, the council requested that the AEDC Board re-evaluate the incentive amount, and to come back with a number closer to $103,000. 

The board re-worked the proposal to include the $24,000 capital expenditure, and a total of $77,500 for job creation.

Board member Joe Masso asked AEDC President/CEO Brian Malone how Champion officials reacted to the news that the incentive package was being reworked.

“Mystified, in a sense,” Malone said. “Essentially, what they’re now doing is trying to re-evaluate between expansion potential here in Athens, or at their plant in Burleson.”