By Tia Lynn Ivey
Shire, the $1.5 billion pharmaceutical plant in Stanton Springs, is preparing to double the number employees next year after the company receives its latest round of FDA approvals for new product lines. FDA approval is anticipated to come through before Dec. 31, 2017.
Shire held a facility-tour for state and county representatives last week, at which updates about coming developments were presented. Morgan County Commissioner Andy Ainslie attended the event, encouraged by the progress being made and the future revenues the company will bring in for Morgan County. “Once they receive FDA approval, they will be able to move full steam ahead,” said Ainslie. “That means our county will get more revenue from property taxes and more job opportunities will be available to our residents,” said Ainslie.
Morgan County is one the counties in the Joint Development Authority (JDA), a four-county board tasked with overseeing the development of Stanton Springs and will share in the property taxes collected from Shire. According to the JDA, Morgan County is poised to receive about $8 million dollars in tax revenue from Shire over a 10-year period, which is nearly double the amount originally projected. Shire is opening $1 billion-plus biopharmaceutical plant in Stanton Springs, was recently approved for another $85 million dollars in bonds to invest in the project. This added investment will increase the tax revenue generated for the four counties who hold a stake in Shire’s property taxes. Morgan’s share is 15 percent.
““The current projections show that over the 10-year tax abatement period, Morgan County’s 15 percent share of net tax revenues totals approximately $8 million of which $3.4 million goes to the County and $4.6 million goes to the School District based on the current millage rates (the 2.5 percent commission to Walton County will come out of these revenues),” explained Andrea Gray, lawyer for the JDA.
“We are ecstatic. It is more than we could have ever envisioned,” said Ainslie. “A total of 1,500 jobs coming in and over a billion dollar investment into this community, it’s beyond our wildest imagination. We never could of dreamed of something like this when we started out on this process about six years ago.”
Ainslie is hopeful that more Morgan County residents will be able to secure jobs at the Shire plant next, as the company is planning to add 800 more jobs in 2018.
“The opportunities this brings to our county are immense,” said Ainslie. “We are now starting to see all our hard work and investment pay off.”