TAYLOR, Texas (KXAN) — A $17 billion Samsung semiconductor plant is a step closer to possibly landing in Taylor, after city and county leaders approved incentives for the tech company Wednesday evening.
The city and Williamson County held a joint meeting at the Taylor Independent School District events center to discuss whether they would support the new plant coming to the area.
City and county leaders voted unanimously to approve multiple agreements with Samsung, allowing them to provide incentives to the company like property tax abatements.
A spokesperson for Samsung at the meeting said passing resolutions moves the process into final stage of deliberation. Most citizens spoke up in favor of the incentives.
Texas Beer Company founder Ian Davis said it would be a “shot in the arm to existing local businesses,” adding he’d create a pale ale dedicated to Samsung.
The company is scoping out a nearly 1,200 acre area southwest of downtown Taylor for its new plant, which could be up to 6 million square feet, according to Williamson County.
Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell called it Texas’ largest economic development project and the “largest economic development project with foreign investment ever in the United States.”
One resident did voice worries.
“I am not against Samsung, however, I do have some concerns,” said Lance White, who would live near the Samsung plant.
White said he was worried about flooding and runoff, as well as how much taxpayer money would be used to pay for roads and other infrastructure improvements.
“I hope in the end that y’all will slow down and take a careful look at what we’re giving up and what we’re getting,” White said.
Williamson County commissioners say Samsung’s runoff regulations will be the same as any other company planning to come to the area, and they are working on a grant to help solve flooding issues.
“They’re going to be held to development standards of any other developer in Williamson County. They have to detain their own storm water, and they have to release it properly,” said Commissioner Russ Boles.
Gravell also says even with the tax abatements, the county is expected to generate more than $2,500 per acre. Right now, Gravell says the county is only getting $1 per acre on the land, which has an agriculture rebate.
The city and county now wait for a final decision by Samsung.
“No decision has been made by Samsung on a site for a potential expansion. All sites are under consideration and each community is performing the appropriate due diligence to put themselves in the best position for this opportunity. The actions by Williamson County and City of Taylor are part of their due diligence.”-Michele Glaze, Samsung Austin Semiconductor spokesperson
If all goes well, the chipmaking plant could be fully-operational by the end of 2025 and bring 1,800 jobs to the area, in addition to 6,500 to 10,000 construction jobs.
Other possible locations for the plant under consideration by Samsung are Austin, Phoenix and upstate New York.
“Travis County is still in the process negotiating and developing an incentive deal that will benefit Travis County and Samsung,” a spokesperson told KXAN on Wednesday.
Taylor’s mayor thinks they are best poised for the opportunity.
“Very simply, as a practical matter, Taylor offers abundant land available, power for the the needs of the project and water that can be provided,” he said.
Gravell says they’re working with a Texas-based group to bring in water for the company from a neighboring county.
“I actually think that’s the best part of this entire story in that it won’t take away the water needs from the residents of Williamson County, but an additional water source will be brought in,” he said.
What Samsung would be responsible for
According to the agreements, part of Samsung’s promise, if they choose to land Taylor, would be to provide at least 24 paid internships for Taylor students each year for the next 30 years.
“Samsung moving to Taylor would be a monumental opportunity… for Taylor ISD,” said one student during the public comment period.
Gravell says all agreements are also performance-based, so the company has to meet certain milestones.
For example, by Dec. 31, 2023, the company will have to complete a minimum of 2,500,000 square feet of improvements, and an additional 800,000 square feet of improvements by the following year.
“Yes to economic growth and development,” said another parent who was also a lifelong resident of Taylor.
The company would also have to give a minimum average of about $300,000 to charity each year beginning in 2022 during the term of the agreement.
KXAN’s media partners at the Austin Business Journal say another meeting is scheduled for Thursday, where leaders will discuss creating reinvestment zones.