Athens Review, Athens, Texas

November 5, 2012

City again considers incentive package

Rich Flowers
The Athens Review

Athens — The Athens City Council is set to again discuss approval of an incentive package for Champion Home Builders, during a special session at 11.30 a.m. Wednesday.

The council will be looking at several issues that could appear on the agenda for the next regular session, Nov. 11.

Champion Homes is considering expanding its manufacturing operation in Athens, and is hoping for financial enticement from the Athens Economic Development Corporation.

At a September meeting, the AEDC approved Champion a $171,000 incentive package to be paid to the company over a 2-year period. The package was predicated on the company making certain equipment purchases, and creating jobs at the Athens factory.

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

The Corporation also has a factory in Burleson, a city of 38,000 near Fort Worth. At an October meeting, AEDC President/CEO Brian Malone said Champion were surprised by the Athens City Council’s reluctance to approve the $171,000 package, and would reevaluate the expansion potential in Athens as opposed to the Burleson location.

Other items to be discussed, Wednesday, that could appear on future agendas include:

• a franchise for Chariot Bus Lines as requested by the Rev.  Alan Coleman of Gates Community Church;

• contracts for city employee medical, dental and disability insurance;

• a request to decorate Ginger’s Park on South Prairieville Street for the Christmas Holiday Season;

• selection of a grant administrator and contractor for the 2012 Texas Community Block Grant;

• authorizing Mayor Randy Daniel to execute the 2012 Federal Equitable Sharing Agreement and Certification;

• authorizing the staff to advertise for bids for two 3/4-ton pickup trucks; and

• authorizing the staff to advertise for bids for one 1/2-ton pickup truck for the Animal Control Department.