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Impulse considers moving plant operations
DWWU impulse
Impulse

One of Dawson Countys largest employers, Impulse Manufacturing, has received approval to fund a large expansion of its facilities and is considering moving out of the county.

Were playing out three options, Marketing and Sales Director Karl Baysden said.

The first, he said, is purchasing a facility in Athens; the second is a facility in Charlotte, N.C., and the third is expanding existing facilities in Dawsonville.

The company plans to make its final decision this month.Impulse is a metal fabricator located near Lumpkin Campground Road and the North Georgia Premium Outlet mall.

One thing that would help keep us in Dawson is if the county would work with Impulse to see if theres any (tax) incentives to keep us here, Baysden said.

The Development Authority of Dawson County (DADC) confirmed Monday it is reviewing a potential property tax incentive. The review will be presented to the board of commissioners for its consideration.

Any tax abatement decision is strictly in the hands of the commissioners, DADC Executive Director Charlie Auvermann said. Our role is to provide an unbiased financial and technical review of the request. That review is then passed to the commissioners. ...

With 220 employees in Dawson County, Impulse Manufacturing has been growing at a rapid clip since 2009 and has hit record revenue levels since 2010, according to Baysden.

A series of contracts, including one with Caterpillar, is helping fuel the growth.

We still have the capacity in this facility, Baysden said. The problem is 18 months from now, we recognize were going to have a constraint in our powder-coating department. We have no choice but to expand.

If Impulse stays in Dawson, it will likely add 75 to 100 new jobs.If it moves, 30-40 jobs would be lost in Dawson County, Baysden said.

Were excited to be growing, he said. Were an aggressive company. Caterpillar is a small but new customer.

Impulse expects to spend approximately $7.5 million on its expansion, using a combination of cash and financing, Baysden said.

When it comes to offering tax incentives to attract or keep companies, the DADC works directly with a Georgia Tech group in the analysis and review of all tax incentives. The group utilizes a software application that was developed for use by development authorities across the state.

We use the Georgia Tech system because it is used by almost all authorities in Georgia, Auvermann said. It allows us to plug in state tax information, and we can compare apples to apples when looking at incentives offered by other Georgia counties.

In 2007, the authority created a general incentives policy in conjunction with the county. That policy will also be reviewed for the Impulse request, and those results will be provided to the commissioners.

Many companies want to have various tax incentives, Auvermann said. The role of the authority, Georgia Tech and their modelling enterprise is to evaluate the financial gains from the firms presence versus the impacts to the county and the citizens when providing services such as fire, sheriffs patrols and the increased costs to the schools.

He pointed out that while some tax incentives do in fact generate long-term positive benefits for the county, some Georgia counties have had trouble when they offered too many incentives.

Incentives come with obligations, Auvermann said. They are not considered a handout, and as such they come with expectations which are placed into any agreements made by the commissioners.

Known as claw backs, these obligations typically include documented obtainment of sustained increases of employment levels and guarantees that a firm will remain operational within a county for a period of years.

The DADC expects to have its review completed within a couple of weeks, noting that the review has to cover a number of different calculations. It is also the practice of the authority to review the impact to both the school system and the city as part of the process.

Any given project may look very good financially from a county government perspective, but place a huge burden on a local school system because of a sudden influx of new jobs which brings a sudden enrollment surge, said Auvermann. We always review any given project from these other perspectives to try to understand the broader implications from any incentives package.

He also noted that Impulse is a major manufacturing operation in Dawson County and that their expansion could mean as many as 75 new jobs inside the county. The authority recognizes the importance of securing new jobs for Dawson citizens, Auvermann said.

In addition to potential county property tax abatements, Impulse may be eligible for Georgia state incentives for increasing local jobs or for the purchase of manufacturing machinery through the states job tax credit and capital investment programs.