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The Johnson County Commissioners Court on Friday approved a tax abatement for AMPD Industries, a company soon to relocate to Godley.

The agreement as approved runs two years and affords the company a 35 percent abatement on increased value over the period.

“The company plans to move into a facility that’s been vacant a while, which is a good thing,” Johnson County Economic Development Executive Director Diana Miller said. ““They plan to remodel, renovate and expand the facility.

“Their plans call for investing $750,000 into expansion and, once opened, they will create 30 plus jobs with the potential for up to 50 jobs once they’re fully operational. That will generate a payroll of about $2.6 million with the possibility of increasing to $5.2 million once they’re fully staffed.”

The company fabricates parts for oil field and aerospace industries, Miller said. 

“The president of the company has moved to Godley and we hope to see more employees move to the county once they’re hired,” Miller said.

The abatement goes into effect Jan. 1, which is also the target date for opening the new plant.

Commissioner Rick Bailey welcomed the company president to Johnson County.

“It’s encouraging, especially in these times, to see new entrepreneurs looking at Johnson County,” Bailey said. “We have a good job market here and several colleges to pull from if you need technical talent.”

Grant consultant bid approved

Commissioners approved the award of a request for proposal submitted by GrantWorks but have yet to officially hire the company. 

The company, if hired, will assist with compliance and other issues in the spending of $34 million in American Relief Act Funds allocated to Johnson County. The company’s bid for such services totals. $1,160,000.

A committee composed to vet the bids recommended GrantWorks in part because they submitted the lowest bid — the two next closest came in at $1.3 million and $1.7 million — in addition to other factors, County Purchasing Agent Ralph McBroom said.

“We’ve worked with this company before, they’re a professional outfit,” County Judge Roger Harmon said.

ARPA funds have been allocated to counties and other governmental entities throughout the country to assist with COVID-19-related costs and mitigation measures.

Bailey voted to approve but initially expressed misgivings.

“Is this bid based on us being fully funded for the full $34 million?” Bailey said. “At this point, we’re still trying to figure out how much exactly we’re going to get and what we can spend it on. So it makes me wonder if there’s going to be a sliding scale downward if we’re not able to spend all these funds.”

Commissioner Larry Woolley echoed Bailey’s concerns.

“That’s what I was thinking,” Woolley said. If we’re only able to spend say $10 million of these funds is our cost for [GrantWork’s] services going to be the same?”

County Attorney Bill Moore pointed out that commissioners were only approving the RFP award at this point.

“This item calls for approving the award, not the contractual agreement,” Moore said. “They will still have to bring a contract in that lays out all the details, which the [commissioners court] will have to approve. If those talks break down then you all would be free to go with another choice.”

Bailey still had reservations.

“It’s all the inconsistency on guidelines of what this money can be used for,” Bailey said. “And the fact that we may run out of time before we can allocate these funds for much of anything. We have a [state conference] this week and should get more guidelines and clarity on what this money can and can’t be used for so that should help.”

Navigating the federal laws and compliance issues of the funds is what GrantWorks would help the county with, McBroom said.

Harmon agreed.

“We need professional help in this situation just like we use our county attorney for help on various legal issues,” Harmon said. “Our auditing department simply doesn’t have the people or time to oversee spending and monitoring of something of this magnitude. We simply don’t have a choice.”

Commissioner Mike White agreed as well.

“They have the expertise on things like this, we don’t,” White said. “I think it’s worth it to have somebody watching our back who knows what’s going on and what they’re doing.”

Commissioners approved the award but called for a workshop session between the county and GrantWorks officials before voting on the actual contract and hiring of the company.

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