The Fort Payne City Council granted a new tax abatement to GH Metal Solutions at Tuesday's meeting.
DeKalb County Economic Development Authority Director Jimmy Durham introduced Tom Sesterhenn from GH Metal Solutions. Sesterhenn was recently appointed as the plant’s Vice President of Operations after the retirement of Edwin Stanley.
The two addressed the council this week in hopes the city would agree to grant the facility with a tax abatement that will equal $80,000 for new equipment upgrades.
“They're going to be adding some equipment to the old solar building,” Durham said. “It will be $8 million worth of equipment.”
Durham said the abatement will assist the company in making the multi-million-dollar investment in “updates and upgrades.”
GH Metal Solutions, located on Airport Road, was established more than 60 years ago and employs more than 350 people, Sesterhenn said.
“Sixty-one years in this community means a lot to us and we continue to invest in the community and not only in the building but in the equipment,” he said.
The expansion, however, will not add more jobs at this time.
“One of the big questions that was asked was, ‘How many jobs will this create?’ We’re not promising new jobs or additional jobs with where we’re at today, but being an employer of over 350 people in the community, we have roots here and that means a lot to us,” he said. “We think the workforce is strong. We think that the future is bright for us, as well.”
The council approved Resolution 2020-04 that will grant the $80,000 tax abatement to GH Metal Solutions and will not include educational taxes.
Fort Payne Mayor Larry Chesser gave his regular report. In it, he said the City of Fort Payne:
• received a grant to “redo things” on DeSoto Parkway. The city will receive $235,000 with a 10-percent match. The grant will allow them to put new signage, striping and more.
• long-serving Wastewater Treatment Plant Director Robin Campbell is retiring after more than 38 years and Michael Evett is taking his place as acting director.
The council also:
• approved Resolution 2020-02, which allows two acres of the “Carden Property” to be surplus and sold to Gil Graham.
• approved Resolution 2020-03, declaring a parcel of land on Godfrey Avenue surplus and to be sold to Hunter Stone.
• set a public hearing for Feb. 18 at 12 p.m. to receive comments from the public in regards to the vacation of an unopened alleyway in Valley View Subdivision.
• heard from Ken Mayo on information regarding the 2020 Census. Mayo encouraged residents to properly fill out census forms and to sign up to work, if possible. For more information, visit www.2020census.gov
• heard from Fire Chief Ron Saferite who announced that long-serving firefighter David Daniels is set to retire Jan. 25, 2020.
• announced the Fort Payne Chamber of Commerce Banquet is set or Jan. 28.
• went into executive session but took no action.