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Washington County secures Project X

Washington County has pulled off what Mayor Dan Eldridge hopes will be the first of many more opportunities to grow the tax base and provide additional jobs.
During a 20-minute meeting of the Industrial Development Board on March 24, members unanimously approved multiple documents that secure the agreement with JCM International Inc., an affiliate of Dentsply Tulsa Dental Specs.
“This is the direction Washington County needs to be heading,” said Chuck Mason, who made the motion to support the deal. “It’s good to save the business and add jobs.”
IDB Chairman Walter Tittle agreed. “It’s a great omen for Washington County.”
Dentsply is a multinational firm offering a variety of endodontic products. The company is ready to expand its site at 608 Rolling Hills Drive and considered relocating to Oklahoma, but has formally decided to remain in Johnson City.
County commissioners voted during their January meeting to approve a $1 million allocation from the county’s General Fund that will allow the IDB to purchase the building occupied by the company.
In return, Dentsply would commit to a 15-year lease arrangement, a capital investment of $16-20 million and the creation of 25-75 new production jobs.
Attorney Tom Trent, representing the IDB in the transaction, said JCM International approved the agreement the day before the meeting and anticipates closing around the end of June.
Trent provided an overview of the documents, which he emphasized contained performance criteria and related consequences.
At the end of the fifth lease year, the company shall provide an officer’s certificate giving written notice to the IDB stating the number of qualifying employees and the amount of the capital investment.
If the number of qualifying employees is lower than 171 of the 214 jobs anticipated to be retained and created at the facility by the end of the fifth year, or if the capital investment is lower than $13.3 million of the $16.6