Ahead of Trump visit, Williamson County leaders discuss Apple incentives deal

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WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Wednesday President Donald Trump will visit Austin to tour the Flex manufacturing facility where Apple plans to make its new Mac Pro.

UPDATE: Apple announces groundbreaking of new Austin campus

That’s not the only investment Apple is making here in Austin. The tech giant is also spending a billion dollars to build its second-largest campus in the country outside its California headquarters.

The new campus will be located in north Austin near Parmer Lane and McNeil Road. The land is part of Williamson County. Last year, county commissioners unanimously approved $16 million in tax incentives.

RELATED: Williamson County officials approve Apple incentive deal

As part of the agreement, the county will let Apple avoid paying 65 percent of its property taxes over 15 years. Apple, in turn, agreed to create five thousand jobs. Local leaders said the benefits for the county go well beyond jobs.

“That piece of property that sits out there today prior to Apple taking possession of that property made less than $30 a year,” Bill Gravell, a Williamson County judge said. “What that means for you, a local Williamson County resident, is that that’s going to be the funds that are going to be used to pay for the roads or the expansion of roads they’re going through there or for additional public safety things.”

Gravell said enhancements to Parmer Lane are a county priority. Voters recently approved a project to improve the intersection of 45 and Parmer Lane in a bond election but Gravell said they’re still a lot of work to do.

“I would say that probably once we get through the spring into early summer we’re going to have a very clear idea of what the needs are and we’re going to be able to make those adjustments and adapt to that,” he said.

Gravell believes, in the long run, the incentives deal will have a halo effect and pay for itself.

“Listen, when you have an Apple you’re going to land another 3 to 500 businesses that are here just to support them,” he said. “Ultimately, the impact is going to trickle down everywhere and that’s why the President of the United States is coming here because what is going on in Williamson County works for the world and we’re proud of that.”

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