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West Point City Council discusses Hyundai TRANSYS MOU

Mayor Pro Tem Henry Hutchinson filled in for Steve Tramell at the West Point City Council work session on Thursday as the council discussed the memorandum of understanding for the recently announced expansion of Hyundai TRANSYS.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced on Dec. 1 that Hyundai TRANSYS will invest more than $240 million in expanding their operations in Georgia, creating 678 full-time long-term positions at a new manufacturing facility in the West Point area.

As part of the MOU, the property on which the plant will be located will be owned by the West Point Development Authority and leased to Hyundai TRANSYS. WPDA will also issue Revenue Bonds Series 2020 in the aggregate principal amount not to exceed $241 million.

Additionally, the WPDA is not subject to ad valorem tax on real or personal property of the Hyundai TRANSYS project.

For the first three years, Hyundai TRANSYS will realize a 100 percent abatement. In the fourth year, there will be a 75 percent abatement and the fifth through 20 years will have a 50 percent abatement.

WPDA Bond Counsel Rob McKenna said in the county’s pilot program that as long as the plant is under construction the company can go 100 percent abated.

“One of the reasons there is a 100 percent abatement for the first three years is the plant will be under construction during that period,” McKenna said.

Councilwoman DeeDee Williams, who said she would abstain herself from the vote due to her affiliation with a sister company to Hyundai TRANSYS, asked County Manager Ed Moon how much the abatement would cost the city.

“I do want to understand from my perspective as a councilperson, what it is that we’re offering as a city to Hyundai TRANSYS Powertrain,” Williams said.

McKenna pointed out that West Point was not guaranteed to land the expansion project.

“This was a competitive bid situation. it’s not like they were going to automatically put it there, and you’re automatically giving up something,” McKenna said.

Moon said he did not have the exact numbers on hand but could provide them. The only other request in the MOU that benefits Hyundai TRANSYS is the waving of any permit fees associated with the project.

“The only other thing that we were requested as far as a benefit to the company in the MOU is to waive any permit fees associated with the project, again, which is something we have done with all industry that we been able to locate in the city, but there is no other cost associated with that,” Moon said.

Moon also pointed out that the company is responsible for all the infrastructure costs.

“The company is responsible for all the infrastructure costs as far as any improvements to any city streets. They’re responsible for any costs associated with any utility improvements that we will be serving to the company,” Moon said.

Councilwoman Sandra Thornton expressed her enthusiasm for the project.

“I am most certainly happy West Point was chosen,” Thornton said.

Williams concluded emphatically that, “we definitely want the business.”

The council also discussed the ordinance to decriminalize marijuana. In that ordinance, the civil penalty would be a progressive scale based on the number of infractions. For the first offense, the fine will not exceed $100, on the second offense the fine should not exceed $200 and for the third and any subsequent offense the fine should not exceed $350.

The council will vote on this along with the MOU for Hyundai TRANSYS when they reconvene Monday, Dec. 14 at 5:30 p.m. EST via webinar.