If you ask Tim Evans, times are good in Hall County, economically speaking.
The Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce vice president for economic development was one of more than a dozen in attendance Friday as the local development authority approved measures that together will bring more than 200 jobs to the area.
“We’re definitely in an economic growth cycle in a lot of industries, and being diversified like this area is, we are seeing a lot of growth right now,” Evans said.
In separate unanimous votes, the Gainesville and Hall County Development Authority approved multimillion-dollar bond resolutions for Wrigley Manufacturing Co. and ZF Gainesville. An expansion at Wrigley could mean 170 additional jobs, and ZF has plans to add 46 new positions.
Evans described the issuance of revenue bonds for Wrigley and ZF — $65 million and $13 million respectively — as “private activity bonds ... with no local community obligation.”
He said Wrigley and ZF are both “responsible for the bonds and the bond payments.”
Evans said ZF is using the money for equipment at the company’s Palmour Drive facility to expand upon its product line. The plant produces transmissions and other vehicle components.
Wrigley is expanding its facility to include Orbit gum, which was formerly produced in Canada.
“They’re now shifting those operations here,” Evans said.
Wrigley Factory Director Jim FitzGerald said the company is “proud to continue creating jobs in the Georgia community through the expansion of our Flowery Branch facility, and we appreciate the ongoing partnership of the state and county.”
The development authority is a quasi-governmental entity that gets its power from the Georgia Constitution. Board members are appointed by the city of Gainesville and Hall County governments.
With regards to both resolutions passed Friday during the special meeting (held at the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce building in Gainesville), Evans said the development authority “is a conduit for the financing of these bonds. The development authority facilitates private economic development for job creation and investment in the community.”