RDA Happenings August 2014
Posted on August 1, 2014 – By Emporia RDA
In the 2nd quarter 2014 Area Development, a site and facility planning publication, announced the annual Gold and Silver Shovel Awards for states in the United Sates based upon population size.
In the category of State Population under 3 million, Kansas was a Silver Shovel winner for 2014. In the table which listed the top ten Kansas projects Hostess Brands in Emporia, Kansas was listed #1. It certainly was Emporia’s number 1 expansion in 2013 & 2014.
Last year in August the headline on the August 8, 2013 Emporia Gazette was “PROPOSED BUDGET REDUCES LEVY BY 7.5 MILLS”. One year later in 2014 in the article entitled “County Commission Move to Publish 2015 Budget” in the text it read, “The goal this year was to get at least one or two mills lower than the 2014 levy of 56.5 mills”.
The primary reason for the mill levy decrease was the Westar Energy Emporia Energy Center tax abatement which expired in two phases in 2013 and 2014. The increased tax base allowed the Lyon County Commissioners to reduce the mill levy. The RDA assisted Westar Energy in successfully locating the Emporia Energy Center in northeast Lyon County.
An 8.5 to 9.5 mill decrease is a significant return on investment for our regional economic de-velopment efforts.
Congratulations go out to Birch Communications; they will be adding 140 more full-time em-ployees at the Emporia facility. Their Emporia workforce will be nearly 250 employees by late 2014 or early 2015.
The past twelve to eighteen months have been outstanding in terms of job growth. Hostess Brands, Simmons Pet Food and now Birch Communications have and will add hundreds of new jobs.
After a considerable amount of effort by Detroit Diesel Remanufacturing (DDR), Overlander Street LLC, Emporia Enterprises and the RDA, DDR will have an 80,000 sq. ft. warehouse across Overlander Street, where their operations are located. This warehouse project will retain 118 full-time jobs in Emporia and the possibility of more jobs in the future.