Travis County considers economic development deal with HID Global Corp.

The Travis County Commissioners Court held a public hearing Sept. 25 to discuss making an economic development deal with HID Global Corp.

According to its website, HID Global Corp. is a leader in delivering secure identity solutions for customers worldwide. The Irvine, Calif.-based company is perhaps best known for its keycards and card readers. It employs 2,100 people worldwide.

HID Global is interested in creating a 200,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution center in the county, said Leslie Browder, county Planning and Budget Department executive. HID Global would create 276 full-time jobs with an average annual wage of $51,398, according to the presentation documents.

In the proposed economic development agreement, HID Global would create jobs and make capital investments according to an agreed-upon schedule and list of requirements.

In exchange, Travis County would offer a grant of up to 50 percent of property taxes generated from the proposed project. HID Global would receive a 40 percent base rebate if it met the job and capital investment requirements, and could receive additional 5 percent rebates for hiring half of its workforce from Travis County and/or achieving LEED building certification. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and is a system of green building standards.

Travis County is not obligated to make any grant payments in any year when HID Global does not meet the agreed-upon conditions.

In a presentation to the Commissioners Court, Browder said HID Global planned to invest $30 million in property improvements and $6 million in business personal property, such as equipment.

Browder said the deal would have a $1.1 million net benefit to the county over a 10-year period.

HID Global must work with local minority chambers of commerce to expand the pool of job candidates. There should be local and minority business participation in the design and construction of the manufacturing center, according to the presentation.

During the public hearing, speakers discussed the importance of living wages and safe conditions for construction workers who will build the new facility. They advocated for hiring workers from low-income neighborhoods.

According to meeting background documents, The State of Texas plans to invest $1.9 million from its Texas Enterprise Fund in HID Global Corp. after local incentives are finalized. The Austin City Council is also considering a development agreement with the company and will discuss it again Sept. 27.

The Commissioners Court is scheduled to revisit the issue Oct. 2 and consider key terms of the agreement. It will review a final draft of the agreement Oct. 9.

By Joe Olivieri
Joe covered Southwest Austin news for Community Impact Newspaper from January 2011 to April 2015. His reporting focused on new businesses, development, transportation, industry and Travis County issues. He was named the paper's managing editor in April 2015. Joe hails from New Jersey.


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