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Washington County closes Dentsply deal

Effective June 29, county leaders finalized the Dentsply Tulsa Dental Specs deal, with the Industrial Development Board acquiring the building and entering into a lease agreement with JCM International Inc., the parent company.
According to Mayor Dan Eldridge, this project accomplishes several objectives. “The number one measure of economic success in a community is the ability to recruit and retain business,” he said. “In this case, we competed successfully with the State of Oklahoma and retained Dentsply.”
Eldridge said the decision says a lot about the local workforce and has special meaning for residents. “We obtained more than $16 million in new investment, which grows the tax base and lessens the burden on the local taxpayers,” he said.
In addition, the project retained 180 good jobs and will generate the creation of at least 25 new ones. “We did all this with cash on-hand,” Eldridge noted. “We didn’t borrow money or raise taxes.”
The incentives offered were not only attractive to the company, he said, they were provided with little or no risk to the taxpayers. “The public investment in this project will result in a cash-on-cash return to the county coffers.”
The county commission voted in January to allocate $1 million from the county’s General Fund to enable the IDB to purchase the building occupied by the company.
The purchase price was negotiated down to $700,000, and Eldridge said the final cost for the building came in almost $10,000 less than expected.
Repayment terms will have the IDB receiving $1,017,600 in rental income over a 15-year period provided JCM meets the five-year employment and investment targets. JCM will have an option to purchase the building for $1 in year 15 if it certifies in good faith the number of employees is expected to continue at or above the then-current level for the next five years.
The IDB also recently approved a 10-year tax abatement for Koyo Corp., which is investing $8 million in equipment for its plant in the industrial park and adding 11 new jobs. This is the second expansion since the plant opened in 2007.
Eldridge said the expansions indicate Washington County offers an environment where employers can be successful.
“They are expanding here because they are pleased with their operations here,” he said. “Efforts to create a business friendly environment are getting traction.”
The commitment of local leaders to helping companies achieve results was evident during a half-day workshop recently sponsored by the Economic Development Council, he said.
The workshop was attended by almost half of the county commissioners, and representatives from the IDB, the Town of Jonesborough, numerous government agencies and community businesses.
“Particularly given the subject matter, there was a very clear understanding of the importance of economic development in the community and broad support for doing unique incentives to make us competitive in some areas where we may not have been,” he said.
“We realize that past successes don’t guarantee future results.”