The Williamsburg City Council and Mayor Roddy Harrison are working hard to help Firestone complete its intended expansion at the Williamsburg plant. That expansion is expected to create 250 full-time jobs in the city.
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) has preliminarily approved up to $6.5 million in tax incentives for the company. The incentives are dependent upon a 15-year performance-based incentive agreement. Firestone will need to create 250 full-time jobs for Kentucky residents over the 15 years. The average wage must $29 or higher and the jobs must have benefits.
Mayor Harrison called the city council to a special meeting on Thursday to approve a resolution to complete an application with Firestone that would give the company an Economic Development Grant of up to $150,000 from KEDFA through the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development. The city will assist with the completion of the grant application.
While the city council and mayor will assist with the application, the city is not putting any money toward the project.
Economic development incentives are somewhat controversial, though no one has protested these recent moves to work with Firestone. Many in government and business have noted over the years the amounts of money given are rarely enough to sway any company’s decisions and that they are therefore a waste of taxpayer dollars. The opponents of that view see economic development money as a necessary part of encouraging companies to consider their area, whether for expansions such as this one or to locate a business.
The state and the city are strongly supporting Firestone’s expansion with cash grants, tax incentives, and job training incentives.
The expansion is expected to be completed by December 2022 with hiring starting about that time.