COLBERT COUNTY, Ala. - A milestone for 2 companies that have taken over a Shoals manufacturing facility moth balled by financial woes.
Economic development leaders in the have adjusted their incentive package to help the companies continues on their successful path.
Economic leaders had high hopes when Navistar leased the flailing National Alabama Railcar Plant in 2011.
In 2013, FreightCar America agreed to sub-lease a portion of the building to manufacture rail cars.
Two years later, 900 people were working in the facility.
Florence Mayor Mickey Haddock said the partners now utilize 100% of the mile-long facility.
“It has grown I guess without very much knowledge of the local people,” said Haddock. “It is very important to our area.”
When they hit 900 employees on the payroll, $7.5 million was paid out to the companies as part of an economic incentive package.
This week, the Shoals Industrial Development Committee agreed to lower the next benchmark to 1,100 employees.
It’s a mark which will pay out $2.25 million to the companies. Mayor Haddock said this is not gift money.
“The incentives that we gave them, they are earning,” stated Haddock. “It’s not that we are just gifting them that, they’re earning those by creating jobs in our area.”
The companies have requested March 2017 as a deadline to maintain 1,100 employees.
Money for the economic incentive packages are collected through a half-cent sales tax in the Shoals. The fund is controlled by the Shoals Industrial Development Committee.