Lowndes County Supervisors give Silicor Materials an ultimatum

By The Associated Press

COLUMBUS — Silicor Materials has received an extension of its start date but it is a deadline with a price tag.

The Lowndes County Board of Supervisors agreed Monday to extend the start date to June 30, 2013. The Commercial Dispatch reports that supervisors also voted to require Silicor to put $150,000 in escrow to ensure its performance.

“They need to commit $150,000 in escrow to ensure performance or this deal is null and void,” said Joe Max Higgins with Columbus-Lowndes Development Link, a local economic development agency. “They either meet the June 30 deadline or it’s over. If they commit the $150,000 and don’t meet the startup deadline, they lose the escrow money.”

Silicor told local officials in November its metal production and purification facility will not meet its Dec. 31 start date.

It was the latest in series of missed deadlines since the company announced in August 2011 its plans to locate in Lowndes County.

Work was scheduled to begin Sept. 2, but the board of supervisors granted the company an extension through Dec. 31, stipulating they meet specific, monthly benchmarks or risk having the county cancel the project.

At stake for the company is approximately $19 million in financial incentives from Lowndes County.

State lawmakers awarded a $75.25 million incentive package to the company last September, including a $59.5 million equipment and construction loan, $11.25 million for infrastructure and $4.5 million for local work force training.

Silicor officials have blamed a lack of funding for their delays, claiming they have not been able to receive a commitment from their European banking partners.

In its original announcement, the company planned to create 921 jobs on a 250-acre site at the industrial park.