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Government GE Manufacturing Solutions seeking changes to economic development agreement

GE Manufacturing Solutions seeking changes to economic development agreement

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GE Manufacturing Solutions is looking to receive bonus grants from the City of Fort Worth, but first, the locomotive and mining equipment manufacturer would need to make changes to the economic development program agreement it has with the city.

The agreement, approved by City Council in 2013, deals with GE’s Fort Worth facilities — a locomotive manufacturing facility at 16201 Three Wide Drive and a mining equipment manufacturing facility at 16202 Three Wide Drive.

Under the original agreement, GE could receive economic development grants for those facilities each year for 10 years. The grants would equal 55 percent of the city’s incremental taxes on the real and business personal property where the facilities are located.

To qualify for the grants, GE would need to create 280 jobs at the facilities in the first year of the agreement. Out of those 280 employees, 30 percent need to be Fort Worth residents and 10 percent need to be Central City residents.

If GE created 600 jobs or more within the time frame of the agreement, the grants could be increased. The grants would then equal between 70 to 85 percent of city’s incremental taxes on the property, provided that the company also met the required number of Fort Worth residents and Central City residents that needed to be employed at the plants.

GE reported 643 jobs in 2014, exceeding the minimum number required to get the increased grant. However, GE is asking to receive the bonus grant without being required to meet the Fort Worth and Central City resident requirements.

This amendment would help GE as the company invests $13.6 million to improve the locomotive facility, as well as construct a rail test track, according to a city staff report to councilmembers.

“The amendment reflects the additional investment the company is making in its facilities and capabilities for the future of the business in Fort Worth,” GE spokesperson Tim Bader said in a statement. “GE Manufacturing Solutions has a strong relationship with the City Council and looks forward to working through this process.”

GE still plans to meet the Fort Worth and Central City resident requirement, said Robert Sturns, interim director of economic development at the City of Fort Worth.

Additionally, GE is requesting a five-year extension on the agreement term.

Council is expected to vote on this proposal on Dec. 15.

GE Manufacturing Solutions is an affiliate of GE Transportation. GE, as a whole, has more than 15,000 diesel-electric locomotives operating worldwide.

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