CIBOLO — A decision by a Japanese auto-parts maker to locate here and create as many as 900 jobs just shows the town is living up to its moniker as the “City of Choice,” officials say.
The City Council and Guadalupe County Commissioners Court July 23 unanimously approved a tax-abatement package for AW Texas Inc., a U.S. subsidiary of Japanese transmission manufacturer Aisin AW Co., to construct a $400 million factory employing hundreds.
“There’s an immense opportunity for people to have a good, sustainable life out here in a global market,” said Mark Luft, director of the city’s Economic Development Corp.
Cibolo bested 76 other Texas municipalities and three unnamed states to land the supplier, City Manager Robert Herrera said at the July meeting.
Aisin AW is just the latest multimillion-dollar business coming to the metropolis, after Walmart generated major buzz the last few years, and more recently Santikos Entertainment opened a giant megaplex.
The manufacturing company will receive up to $14.2 million in incentives from Cibolo over a 20-year period. A $9.6 million value entails a 75 percent property-tax reduction the first 10 years, 50 percent the next five, and 30 percent thereafter.
The remainder is allocated in the last 10 years of the accord under a Chapter 380 Economic Development Agreement, which encourages developers to build in Texas.
Guadalupe County will shell out $13 million in enticements, according to reports, with 100 percent of county taxes, except for property taxes collected for lateral roads, being abated.
Proximity to interstates 10 and 35, part of greater San Antonio’s spacious trade corridor, plus an educated workforce, makes Cibolo an ideal destination for Aisin to expand operations, officials said.
The Alamo City area has dozens of higher-education facilities for the company to recruit workers. Aisin can also draw “highly skilled and mission-driven” veterans from the region’s diverse military population, an official said.
“I am honored to stand before you today and would like to extend great appreciation for your vote of confidence,” Satoru Kasuya, Aisin AW managing officer and deputy chief officer, told government leaders at the meeting. “We have found many of the attributes that match our company culture in Cibolo and Guadalupe County.”
With another U.S.-based plant in Durham, North Carolina, established in 1998, the manufacturer has produced 6.7 million real-wheel and front-wheel drive transmissions there since inception, according to an April press release announcing Aisin AW’s expansion of its American business capabilities.
One of its clients, Toyota, is considering expanding its presence in the Alamo City. San Antonio and Bexar County recently approved tax abatements for the automaker to invest nearly $400 million into expanding its existing South Side plant, and enhance production lines and equipment over the next several years.
The Cibolo factory will be constructed on a 159.5-acre site situated on Santa Clara Road and I-10. AW Texas is in the process of purchasing the property, which city officials designated as a reinvestment zone in June, from the Guadalupe Valley Development Corp.
Finalizing the purchase is imminent, said Christine Pollok, a Cibolo spokeswoman, in a telephone interview.
At the July session, government officials lauded AW Texas as pioneers of future economic development along the I-10 corridor. Some 6 miles of land is undeveloped there, Herrera estimated.
“We don’t support you just now, we support you tomorrow,” said Guadalupe County Judge Kyle Kutscher.
An economic-impact study Herrera referenced during the meeting reported Aisin generating a yearly payroll of $36 million. Cibolo and Guadalupe County will see annual net benefits worth millions in property and sales taxes, officials reported.
Meanwhile, Cibolo’s celebration was short-lived.
At the council meeting later the same day, municipal leaders voted to conduct a public hearing Aug. 20 to determine if Mayor Stosh Boyle can keep his seat following a revelation he was convicted of federal felony drug charges in 1998.
Texas law says a candidate cannot run for public office if convicted of a felony, unless individual has been pardoned or otherwise released.
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