Chambers County Development Authority Releases Annual Report – Valley Times-News
VALLEY — Ansley Emfinger, project manager for the Chambers County Development Authority (CCDA), reviewed the CCDA’s annual report at Monday’s Valley Town Council meeting. She said there was a lot of good news to report for Chambers County for 2021, including strong employment numbers, rising wages and the best census for Chambers County in at least 40 years.
The county’s unemployment rate in December was 2.7%, a statistic that indicates the availability of many local jobs. “That’s a great number to have,” Emfinger said. “Wages have been rising for 15 years. Investments estimated at $1.3 billion were made in the region during this period. At least 3,000 jobs have been created. It’s very exciting to see that.
Emfinger added that sales tax numbers have increased over the same period, especially in the town of Valley. “It’s a testament to the growth we’ve seen and the leadership we’ve gotten from local officials,” Emfinger said. “The land acquisitions that we have seen in recent years by the Ville de Vallée are a good initiative for the future of our territory. There is no doubt that Interstate Exit 77 is a future growth area for our region.
In the 2020 census, Chambers County recorded its first ten-year population growth since 1980. Valley led the way, growing by more than 1,000 people from 2010 to 2020. It now has more than 10,500 people.
“One of our main goals has been to recruit more jobs,” Emfinger said. “It happened and we want it to continue. We now need to give residential activity a major boost. We see signs of it, and that’s good. We are now focusing on recruiting companies in the food and beverage industry. We must continue to expand our workforce. »
Mayor Leonard Riley thanked Emfinger for the report. “Our income has been very good,” he said. “We’re seeing the gas tax go down because it’s so expensive to drive. We appreciate everything CCDA does. It is a cooperative period. We don’t want to fight with Lanett, West Point or LaFayette. We must work together to help the whole region. We want to create well-paying jobs.
He cited the new John Soules Foods factory in Valley as an example of this. Since its launch last September, a total of 382 people have been hired there. The vast majority of them live within 25 miles of the plant. The pay scale varies from around $15 per hour for assembly line workers to $40 per hour for skilled workers such as robot mechanics.
“They invested $180 million in our community to start the plant,” Riley said. “I wish everyone could see what’s going on there. I hope they will have visitors at some point. They have two lines in operation and process 14,000 pounds of chicken per hour on each line. In a year and a half, they will have five lines in service and will have more than 500 employees.
Planning and Development Manager Travis Carter reported that the Camellia Crossing subdivision is becoming a very busy work area. “They’re starting to drop rock,” he said. “We may see some street paving in the near future.”
Located off Combs Road on the west side of town, Camellia Crossing is being developed by Holland Homes of Auburn. It will be done in phases and there could be over 300 smart homes in the subdivision when built.
Commissioner Sam Bradford was at the meeting and mentioned the impact a good census report has on a community. He and Commissioner Debra Riley were members of the county’s 2020 census committee. “Each county receives $1,600 per person per year from the federal government,” he said. “If you have a population gain of 500 people during the last census, that’s $800,000 more per year that will be paid to you by the federal government and $8 million over the next 10 years. A good census count is very important for a county.