McCaskill: Local industries growing, new industries right around the corner

Published 6:18 pm Friday, December 16, 2016

By Powell Cobb

Managing Editor

Industries in Decatur County have grown in the past year, according to Industrial Development Director Rick McCaskill, and new projects on the horizon have the promise of jobs for residents and increased tax revenue that could lead to lower millage rates.

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“It is truly more important to us to grow our local businesses than to go out and bring somebody in,” McCaskill said. “It’s more cost effective to grow your local businesses. In fact, when we target businesses, our target business is somebody that has 25-50 jobs, but has potential to grow.”

Businesses growing in Decatur County over the past year include Barber Fertilizer, which built a new peanut warehouse on their property during the summer.

Other expansions came from Georgia Gulf Sulfur, who added two new production lines and a new warehouse and bulk load facility that increased its job count by 15.

Southeastern Minerals expanded its warehouse and rail facilities, John B. Sanfilippo & Son added a semi-trailer unloading facility and a new peanut drying facility.

The old Propex facility at the Decatur County Industrial Park has become a shipping point for Kia automobiles. Additional information regarding the specifics of this project could not be attained due to communication issues with management.

Danimer is expanding its current plant to add a new production line that will double production.

One of the big projects up for bid are two solar panel farms.

“We have the potential to way-more than double the amount of solar power that we are generating in Decatur County,” McCaskill said.

Two solar panel projects run by Southern Power that total a thousand acres were completed in Decatur County in December 2014, and have brought in more than $160 million in property tax revenue.

“I feel very comfortable that the people that have put these two big projects together, their bids are going to be very competitive,” McCaskill said.

One of the big draws for largescale solar panel projects in Decatur County is the flat land, longer periods of average daylight and a strong tie to Georgia Power, a subsidiary of Southern Power.