County Passes Bond Program For New Simmons Plant

BENTONVILLE (KFSM) -- The Benton County Quorum Court passed a bond program Thursday night for the new Simmons Plant on Highway 59 near Decatur.

Benton County Judge Barry Moehring said this program is called a Payment In Lieu Of Taxes Program, or PILOT Program.

"The plant would pay less taxes than it otherwise would," Moehring said. "However there would be a lot more taxes paid on that property if the plant were never built. So right now that piece of property collects about $1,200 a year in property taxes. Once this plant is built it will collect a little over a million dollars a year in property taxes."

He explained these tax abatements act as an incentive to the company to build and work in Benton County.

Moehring said when talking to Simmons, they wanted to stay in the area.

The county worked with the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and the governor's office to help the company with their decision.

Moehring is unsure when the plant will open its doors, but said it could bring around 2,200 new jobs.

The county also spoke with many different community groups including chambers of commerce in the area.

Laura Campbell, the director of communication with the Siloam Springs Chamber of Commerce said they are excited to see how this new plant will affect the area.

She said they expect all of those new workers will help continue the growth they are currently seeing.

"We get a lot of those people coming for retail, restaurants, different things that helps our economy as well," Campbell said. "Another thing is anytime there are jobs open, people are in commuting distance still and so we see a lot of growth in addition to right there around the Simmons plant."

The area did see some plant closures last year but Campbell said they didn't see too much of an effect.

She explained the manufacturers around the area are always looking for workers.

They were able to fill all the jobs that were lost fairly quickly with the chamber's assistance.