MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Local News

March 18, 2014

Incentive spurs infrastructure

$76K package would back Global Machine’s $420K expansion

A Muskogee manufacturer’s plans to expand operations attracted the support of port authority members who approved a local incentives package worth more than $76,000.

The proposal presented by Global Machine Co. also won the support of city councilors. They tentatively approved on Tuesday two measures that would spur infrastructure improvements needed to support he company’s expansion plans.

A Global Machine representative said the company is considering a capital investment worth nearly $420,000. The investment would include equipment upgrades at its northeast Muskogee plant and expanded operations at a leased facility located at the Port of Muskogee.

The family owned and operated company, which opened in August 2004, grew its workforce from five employees to 30 workers today. If its expansion plans come to fruition, Global Machine would add another 24 workers, an 80 percent increase, to its payroll during the next three years.

Scott Robinson, port authority director, said Global Machine qualified for the offer of local incentives because of its plans to both expand and add jobs. The incentives are being offered in conjunction with a community development block grant that would be used to fund street improvements.

“Part of what we are doing (with the incentive) is bringing a focus in Muskogee for the need of local companies to reinvest because of the impact they already have,” Robinson said. “When they re-invest here, they keep the people they have here and bring more people here — we need more investment and more jobs.”

Marie Synar, acting director for the Muskogee City-County Port Authority’s economic development division, said Global Machine’s annual economic impact locally totals about $27,000 plus the value of the company that is assessed for ad valorem tax collections. Its expansion plans would increase that number by an additional $37,500 a year when averaged during the span of a decade.

That figure, Synar said, accounts for revenue generated by taxes on retail sales and the occupancy of hotel and motel rooms. Synar said the company’s property tax information has yet to be included in her analysis, but she suspects the company’s economic “impact is actually greater than the approximate $27,000 listed.”

“Muskogee has touted itself as being business friendly for many years,” Synar said, adding the incentive was made possible by a City of Muskogee Foundation grant. “Now, with the creation of the strategic investment program, we can demonstrate that goodwill by encouraging businesses to make investments such as these that will increase our local tax base and create new jobs in our community.”

City councilors, during a public works meeting Tuesday, approved a port authority request to apply for a community development block grant to fund improvements to streets leading to and from Global Machine’s headquarters. The company is located within an unannexed area near Shawnee Bypass and York Street surrounded by Muskogee’s municipal boundaries.

Dave Davis, special projects coordinator for the port authority, said if the Oklahoma Department of Commerce approves the city’s application, the grant would be used to fund a design component to raise the streets targeted for the upgrade to a standard that meets industrial demands. The street improvements also would rework the turning radius at the intersections to accommodate oversize loads hauled by truck from Global Machine.

Global Machine Vice President Ryan Bennett said getting tractor-trailer rigs and oversize loads in and out right now “is next to impossible.” Proposed street improvements would make it easier to move 56,000-pound loads as big as 14 feet wide and 60 feet long from Global Machine to surrounding highways.

Bennett credited the company’s expansion plans to work it has picked up from increased activities associated with oil and gas exploration and production. The company recently snagged a large tank fabrication order to support activities in the Eagle Ford and Bakken formations in Texas and North Dakota respectively.

“Right now we are booked solid with jobs all the way through to March of next year,” Bennett said. “We are just excited to try and keep some jobs here in town instead of seeing them go to Tulsa and other places.”

If the community development block grant application is funded, city councilors approved a cooperative agreement that provides the city would oversee street improvements. The county, if commissioners approve the agreement when they meet Monday, would be responsible for future maintenance.

Reach D.E. Smoot at (918) 684-2901 or dsmoot@muskogeephoenix.com.

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