County, Pelahatchie win big on industrial deal
Nov. 9, 2022
Source: By Charles Bailey, Rankin County News
RANKIN – A Wisconsin-based company has come to the aid of the county and the City of Pelahatchie, proposing to not only invest tens of millions of dollars into the former Georgia Pacific ‘Color-Box’ industrial plant, but to add to the facility’s workforce.
The announcement came during the Board of Supervisors November 3 meeting, and was approved by the county November 7.
“Menasha Packaging Company is an international operation that creates specialty packaging materials for retail applications,” Board Attorney Criag Slay said. “If you think about all of the ways that we receive retail products that are on the shelf, there are any number of those that come in a corrugated box, or cardboard box of some description, with protective packaging enclosed so that the placement process, whatever the item is that is being purchased is protected. Menasha makes all of that. And they do that at facilities across the country, and also internationally.”
Georgia Pacific has been in the corrugated packaging business in the industrial park of Pelahatchie for decades, Slay said, but they’ve recently sold all of their stateside operations to Menasha. Due to Menasha’s massive corporate footprint, the possibility existed that it would re-locate the Pelahatchie plant.
On the contrary, State, and local economic development officials worked hand-in-hand with Menasha, and the company intends to remain in Pelahatchie, make significant financial investments in the plant, and increase the number of workers there.
“The win for our county is that we retain an employer, and that we get more employment as well,” Slay said. “(Georgia Pacific) is running two shifts at the moment. My understanding is that Menasha intends to run four shifts. They have made a commitment to the state that they are adding 21 jobs to that facility. That is probably a conservative estimate of the actual amount.”
The financial arrangement, called ‘fee in lieu of taxes,’ will have the company, for a 10-year period, pay the county one-third of its ad valorem, or property taxes, one-third to the City of Pelahatchie, and one-third to the Rankin County School District. After 10 years, “everything is on the table for tax purposes, and they pay the normal ad valorem tax rate,” Slay said.
Most significantly, under a ‘fee in lieu of taxes’ arrangement, the company must commit to investing a minimum of $60 million, and “Menasha has committed, in writing that they are making a minimum of $60 million in enhancement, renovation, upgrades, you name it,” Slay said. “They are going to expand the operations of the Pelahatchie industrial park location. They’re adding jobs, and they are bringing $60 million in the minimum investment to that facility. This is a big deal for Rankin County - $60 million in investment and additional jobs.”
But that projected amount grew when company officials attended the board’s November 7 meeting. Menasha Corporation Vice-President Paul Paprocki said, “We saw this as a great opportunity to service our key customers in the West, and the South, and we are committed to investing in this facility, and community. We’re looking to make (an) investment of $79 million, so that would include the expansion of the plant, as well as strategic equipment that we put in this location. We had a choice of where to put this plant, but we want to make this investment in Pelahatchie. It’s a great cultural fit, and would grow our relationship9 with our customers in the South, and provide them with high-quality products that we produce.”
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