NEWPORT, AR (KAIT) - Ten years ago Newport voters passed a sales tax increase designed to boost economic development in their town, and it appears to be paying off. Recently, Medallion Foods, Inc. announced it was expanding its facility in Newport and adding 40-new jobs.
Medallion Foods Inc. has been in Newport for twenty-four years, and one of the largest manufacturers. The expansion is the kind of growth the Newport Economic Development Commission likes to see.
"It means they're more stable and they're content with what's going on in the community," said Newport Economic Development Commission Executive Director Jon Chadwell. He says Medallion Foods Inc. already employs more than 250 employees at its manufacturing facility. The expansion will bring even more job opportunities.
"It means forty good paying jobs at a very stable company, and that's huge. They have confidence in our community that they wanted to invest money here," said Chadwell.
The company is investing more that 9.3 million dollars to expand a new line in the plant. It received both local and state level support for the endeavor, including help from the N.E.D.C. and the half-cent sales tax increase. "The half-cent sales tax has enabled things like this to happen. So we're giving them a small grant for job creation and a small grant to train the employees they are going to be hiring." said Chadwell.
He says it's all about creating an environment to make people's lives better, whether it's through training, or increased opportunity, which is what he says the half-cent sales tax has helped to do over the past ten years. "We've created about 800 jobs over the past ten years. We've brought in 12 smaller companies, but we've also helped with four expansions at our existing companies. It's a sustainable growth for the community," said Chadwell.
Chadwell hopes to extend the economic development half-cent sales tax for another ten years, which will be decided by voters during a special election July 12th.