The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

April 16, 2014

Public investment in private sector worth the price

— The economic good news continues for Athens.

News Courier reporter Jean Cole reports in her front page story Tuesday that the City Council approved a tax abatement for Cast Products, a long-time local company.

The 35-year-old aluminum-molding business is planning a $1.1 million expansion that is expected to create nearly a dozen jobs over the next three years … and more beyond that, according to company Vice President of Operations Colby Medlen, the grandson of the late founder, Basil Wheeler.

There was also an announcement at the meeting that an unnamed Athens business is planning an $11 million expansion that will create 16 jobs, and Asahi Kasei Plastics North America is considering building a 100,000-square-foot facility at Wilkinson Street and Airport Road.

The city is also following through on its $250,000 pledge toward the Remington Outdoor project in Madison County.  On Monday, the council passed a resolution approving the first $83,333 payment to the Industrial Development Board.

There are arguments for and against public money aiding private companies and they all make good points.

But we believe that a city’s — or county’s — investment in its future should be more than just words.