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|Monroe lands LMA's 'achievement' award again|
The city of Monroe was recently awarded Louisiana Municipality Association's community achievement award for economic development.
LMA awards were distributed Friday and Saturday, Aug. 7-8, during the organization's 72nd annual convention. The convention was held in Alexandria this year.
More than 1,000 elected officials and municipal employees attended the three-day event.
Monroe's recognition marked the fifth time the city received LMA's community achievement award.
The annual LMA community achievement awards recognize the best municipal basic services, community service and economic development projects that were started or completed during the previous year.
The city of Monroe competes in the category of cities with a population of 25,000 and above, such as Shreveport, Bossier City, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Lake Charles and Alexandria.
The project Monroe entered this year was called "Operation Three-Peat." It detailed the city's efforts to lure three new major employers to the area.
Gardner Denver Thomas announced in April it would consolidate and move its Sheboygan, Wis., operations to its Monroe facility. The decision to consolidate in Monroe will more than quadruple Gardner Denver's Monroe operations from roughly 70 jobs to at least 300 by the end of 2011, including new jobs averaging $37,000 annually plus benefits.
As part of the incentives package to lure Gardner Denver Thomas here, the state committed a performance-based grant of up to $9 million for relocation expenses from the state's Rapid Response Fund. The city of Monroe will provide for a 124,000-square-foot building expansion with a discounted lease rate.
Computer Programs and Services Inc. also announced in March it will expand operations to Monroe.
CPSI, headquartered in Mobile, Ala., is a healthcare technology company, which designs, develops, markets, installs and supports computerized information systems for hospitals throughout the United States.
The company plans to start off with 40 employees the first year it operates here and create at least 100 new jobs over a four-year period. Its annual payroll will total $1.9 million, plus benefits.
Following those two announcements, parish and city leaders in June joined V-Vehicle Co. representatives to announce the new car company will take over the former Guide facility and produce fuel-efficient automobiles.
An economic impact study concerning the new car manufacturer was conducted by LSU. It suggested the V-Vehicle facility would provide an injection of more than $19.6 billion in new state economic output from 2010 through 2024.
That LSU study also indicated the 1,400 direct, on-site jobs will create roughly 1,800 indirect jobs for a total of 3,200 new jobs in northeastern Louisiana.
Local governments pledged up to $15 million as part of a roughly $85 million incentives package to convince V-Vehicle to locate in the former Guide plant in eastern Ouachita. The state's share of the incentives package totals some $70 million.
V-Vehicle Co. was founded in 2006 by Frank Varasano, a former Oracle Corp. and Booz Allen Hamilton executive. The vehicle design team is led by Tom Matano, who is best known as the "father of the Miata," which was named the "most iconic car" of the past 25 years by Business Week magazine.
V-Vehicle hopes to begin production of its new vehicle by the end of 2010.
"Our city is a winner, because we have created a championship atmosphere for business," said Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo. "We utilized creative and innovative business practices, coupled with a team approach from the local, state and federal levels in order to create an environment that is conducive to business growth and expansion."
"We share this award with all of the public and private partners who helped make Gardner-Denver, CPSI, and V-Vehicle Company successful projects," Mayo added.
The town of Sterlington also received an award for its creation of a tax-increment financing district to help generate funding for U.S. Highway 165 infrastructure construction projects.