Home News Perry mill closure adversely affects Florida economy; town explores potato chip production

Perry mill closure adversely affects Florida economy; town explores potato chip production

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Perry mill closure adversely affects Florida economy; town explores potato chip production

The closure of the Foley Cellulose Mill in Perry in November can have devastating economic consequences for the Big Bend region of Florida. In response to economists from the University of Florida, the closure will end in the lack of nearly 2,000 jobs and $9.9 million in state and native taxes. The mill, which is positioned along the Fenholloway River, is described because the major economic driver for a county where one in five residents live below the poverty line.

The Foley paper mill provides a payroll of $77 million for Taylor County staff, with starting pay for many jobs nearly twice the state per capita income. The mill supports over 12% of county jobs, including positions on the plant and related jobs for loggers and truckers. It also generates $377 million in spending in Taylor County, which is greater than the combined profit of Florida’s three National Football League teams.

The closure of the mill comes as Perry continues to be recovering from Hurricane Idalia, which struck the world in September. Georgia-Pacific, the Atlanta-based corporation that owns the mill, announced its decision to shut the plant two weeks after the hurricane. This unexpected announcement blindsided local and state officials, and the community is now witnessing the gradual withdrawal of its major economic contributor.

Dawn Perez, the manager director of the Taylor County Chamber of Commerce, stated that the loggers have already began shedding employees, and she or he believes it can take years for the county to recuperate from the combined impact of the hurricane and the mill closure.

The 69-year-old Foley mill extracts cellulose fiber from wood utilized in paper products. Its closure can have a ripple effect across the state, depressing spending by $571 million and leading to the lack of nearly 1,900 jobs, in response to the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Science.

In response to the closure, Congressman Neil Dunn and Rep. Jason Shoaf have called on Georgia-Pacific to offer prolonged health advantages, pay, and severance for displaced staff. Also they are working to seek out alternative job opportunities for affected individuals throughout the state.

The Taylor County Development Authority’s executive director, Taylor Brown, stated that Georgia-Pacific accounts for 28% of the community’s tax base. Nonetheless, it’s unclear whether the corporate plans to supply any assistance throughout the transition.

As Perry faces an uncertain future, Super-Pufft Snacks USA Inc. has announced a brand new investment in a facility within the town. The corporate will begin producing Utz potato chips and goals to grow to be the biggest private employer in Taylor County, with a projected workforce of 330 and an economic impact of $603 million.

Overall, the closure of the Foley mill can have a big and long-lasting impact on Perry and the encompassing region. Efforts are being made to help affected staff and stimulate economic growth, however the road to recovery shall be difficult.

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