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|Jindal expected to announce new employer for Ouachita Parish Wednesday|
Gov. Bobby Jindal is expected to visit Monroe Wednesday to announce a company will locate in the former Guide Corp. plant in eastern Ouachita Parish, bringing roughly 1,500 new jobs to the region.
Timmy Teepell, the governor's chief of staff, told The Ouachita Citizen late Friday that Jindal was scheduled to travel to Monroe next week for the economic development announcement. Teepell declined to identify the name of the new employer, though he acknowledged the project's code name was "Liberty."
The announcement reportedly will be made at 11:15 a.m. Wednesday at the site of the former Guide plant.
Last week, Ruston businessman James Davison disclosed he had invested in the company considering locating in the former Guide pant building, which Davison bought after Guide vacated the facility, eliminating more than 800 local jobs.
Davison's disclosure concerning the new employer surfaced some two days before the cities of Monroe and West Monroe as well as the Ouachita Parish Police Jury announced it would contribute some $12 million-$15 million toward an incentives package to help lure the new employer to northeastern Louisiana. Ouachita Economic Development Land Corp. also will contribute money toward the incentives package, which is being pieced together by the state, specifically Louisiana Economic Development Corp. The state has not disclosed how much money or tax breaks or other incentives would be offered to land the new employer.
Meanwhile, speculation has run rampant since Davison made it known he was involved in project "Liberty." At least one economic development official said the new employer would be engaged in manufacturing "unique" automobiles. However, state and local officials refuse to publicly confirm or deny the name of the new employer. They also refuse to speak publicly about the line of work the new employer would bring to the region.
When local officials announced the cities of Monroe and West Monroe, the police jury and OEDC Land Corp. would contribute $12 million-$15 million toward the incentives package for the new employer, West Monroe Mayor Dave Norris said local governments may consider asking voters to approve a property tax to pay for it. Norris did not say how many millages voters would be asked to approve for the tax or how long it would be levied.
One economic development official told The Ouachita Citizen a two-mill property tax was being entertained. The official said the two-mill tax would need to be levied for no less than 10 years.
The Ouachita Citizen learned more than one month ago that state economic development officials were close to striking a deal to bring a new employer to the former Guide plant. The Ouachita Citizen agreed not to publish a news article on the matter out of concern that any news reports would disrupt negotiations between the state and the new employer.
Check back for more information concerning this developing story.