TEXARKANA, Ark. —With what appears to be the "opportunity of a lifetime," Miller County's Budget and Finance Committee will soon recommend the county contribute $1.25 million over five years to potentially land a car-manufacturing plant.
Following a 40-minute discussion Monday night, committee members agreed to recommend at next Monday's full Quorum Court that the Court commits to contribute $250,000 a year for the next five years to help buy and secure the land for the plant's location.
Regional Economic Development Incorporation (REDI) Executive Director Rob Sitterley, who spoke to committee about the project last week, spoke again to committee members and other county officials.
Sitterley said the plant, if acquired, could potentially bring in as much as $10.5 million annually to the county in sales and property taxes.
Sitterley added that Texarkana, Ark., has already committed at least $230,000 annually for the next five years to buy the land for the plant.
"This plant has a very good chance of being a real financial game changer for Miller County," he said.
Two parcels of land in the county are under consideration, but officials declined to specify the parcels' locations.
Committee Chairman Ernest Pender, who said it is "the opportunity of a lifetime," believes the county is strong enough financially to help with the proposed land purchase.
Pender said the county has more than $1.5 million in reserve funds to help gradually pay for the land purchase.
Pender said local officials should know sometime this year if the county is chosen for the car-manufacturing plant.
Most of the committee members, as well as elected county officials attending the meeting, said it would be worth a try.
Miller County Sheriff Jackie Runion agreed.
"The best way to keep the crime rate down is to have jobs here," he said.
Mary Elizabeth "Prissy" Hickerson, former Arkansas State Highway Commissioner and former Arkansas State District 1 representative, said she agreed that landing a prospective car plant is a wonderful opportunity for the county.