Trenton City Commission Votes To Give $100,000 to Vanguard Project

The Trenton City Commission voted Monday night to give $100,000 to the Dade County Industrial Development Authority (IDA) toward its Vanguard National Trailer Corp. project. IDA, whose mission is to bring industry into the county, had originally committed $500,000 in road infrastructure to incentivize Vanguard to locate its new manufacturing facility here. It is hoped that the plant, now under construction, will bring some 400 jobs to Trenton and Dade County. Toward that end, Dade County has granted Vanguard tax immunity for 10 years, and the state, besides $404,000 from the Georgia Department of Transportation, is actually handing Vanguard $1 million in cash through an EDGE fund. At the Trenton City Commission meeting last month, IDA’s Peter Cervelli asked the city to pony up as well.

The road into the new Vanguard plant crosses the railroad tracks that bisect Dade County, and IDA had learned that the lion’s share of its half-million roadwork dollars would be gobbled up by $482,000 in fees from the railroad. Cervelli at the February meeting said IDA was facing a $349,000 shortfall toward its commitment to Vanguard, and asked the city for help.

Trenton Mayor Alex Case agreed that the Vanguard plant was important to the city as well, and on Monday he announced that he and the commissioners had decided to part with $57,986 from SPLOST (special-purpose local option sales tax) funds and $42,014 from the general fund to make up a $100,000 commitment to the project

Cervelli, discussing the Vanguard deal earlier, said that clawbacks were written into the contract IDA brokered with the manufacturer requiring it to pay back a percentage of the incentive money should it not in fact provide as many local jobs as promised, or in any case most of them. “There’s a proviso that says if you make 80 percent of your goal, that’s acceptable,” he said.

Georgia uses the same standard, said Cervelli. Beginning wages at the Trenton plant have been cited to be about $10 an hour, but Cervelli said he understood the jobs came with benefit packages and bonuses.

He said only a few management jobs have been advertised so far, but that he understood the state labor department was planning a job fair in Dade for May.

The plant is slated to begin operations in July.

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