Mississippi sawmill announces $40M expansion, 45 jobs

A Mississippi sawmill will invest $40 million to increase production by 50 percent, with plans to hire 45 more workers.

Posted: Nov 21, 2018 12:59 PM

NEWTON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi sawmill will invest $40 million to increase production by 50 percent, with plans to hire 45 more workers.

Michigan-based Biewer Lumber announced the expansion Tuesday at its Newton sawmill, a little more than a year after the company opened the facility. The expansion is projected to be complete by late 2019, bringing the total number of employees to 170.

CEO Tim Biewer says increasing demand is driving the move. The sawmill's capacity will expand from 200 million to more than 300 million board-feet per year. That additional production will create spinoff activity among loggers and truckers, with wood demand rising by 400,000 tons (360,000 metric tons) per year.

Mid-Mississippi Development District Executive Director Newt Ishee says local officials are granting an agreement that will cut property taxes by two-thirds for 10 years. Such a deal is only available to a company investing more than $60 million, but Ishee says officials have determined that Biewer should be eligible because it invested $85 million before opening the mill in April 2017. The threshold to qualify for the big tax break used to be an investment of $100 million until the Legislature lowered it this year.

Ishee was away from his office Wednesday and couldn't immediately say how much the tax break would be worth. Mississippi Development Authority spokeswoman Tammy Craft said Biewer would save $17.3 million over 10 years from an industrial-property-tax exemption on the original investment and expansion, but those breaks are less lucrative. The company is also projected to save $624,000 over 10 years on inventory-tax exemptions from the original investment and expansion.

Craft said Biewer will pay an average salary of $35,000 per year, which she said would enable the company to get rebates on worker income taxes.

Biewer could get cash rebates of more than $600,000 over 10 years on workers hired in the expansion. The company may collect around $1.75 million in rebates from workers hired in the initial investment.

The Mississippi Development Authority is designating $582,000 in federal community development money to pay for public road improvements to aid the project. The city of Newton will provide a $58,000 match for that amount.

Construction is scheduled to begin in March and production is scheduled to begin in November 2019. The company has four years to hire the additional workers under an agreement with the state.

Biewer has four other sawmills in Michigan and Wisconsin, plus treating facilities in Michigan, Illinois and New York.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 307519

Reported Deaths: 7096
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto20784248
Hinds19894408
Harrison17493302
Rankin13316275
Jackson13099243
Madison9896210
Lee9859169
Jones8293160
Forrest7523146
Lauderdale7189237
Lowndes6265144
Lamar610784
Lafayette6028117
Washington5280132
Bolivar4770129
Oktibbeha455297
Panola4442103
Pearl River4420139
Warren4281118
Marshall4273100
Pontotoc416472
Monroe4057132
Union403775
Neshoba3988176
Lincoln3871108
Hancock372185
Leflore3468124
Sunflower329389
Tate322781
Pike3181104
Scott310572
Yazoo304368
Alcorn297764
Itawamba296876
Copiah293065
Coahoma289677
Simpson287484
Tippah284868
Prentiss275659
Marion265979
Wayne261341
Leake261173
Grenada254982
Covington254580
Adams245982
Newton244859
George237847
Winston225981
Tishomingo222067
Jasper219748
Attala213373
Chickasaw204857
Holmes186471
Clay182454
Stone179131
Clarke176876
Tallahatchie175540
Calhoun163230
Yalobusha158836
Smith158634
Walthall130543
Greene129433
Lawrence126323
Noxubee125933
Montgomery125542
Perry125138
Carroll120826
Amite120141
Webster113432
Jefferson Davis105432
Tunica102525
Claiborne101330
Benton97225
Kemper95226
Humphreys94332
Franklin81923
Quitman78916
Choctaw72817
Jefferson64828
Wilkinson64727
Sharkey49617
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 519071

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754131487
Mobile37774798
Madison33868494
Tuscaloosa25283443
Montgomery23969565
Shelby23112238
Baldwin20638300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14286311
Morgan14140268
Etowah13664345
Marshall11957219
Houston10383278
Elmore9994200
Limestone9814147
Cullman9475188
St. Clair9429234
Lauderdale9218227
DeKalb8747181
Talladega8060171
Walker7092275
Jackson6755110
Autauga6727103
Blount6488135
Colbert6205130
Coffee5401112
Dale4768110
Russell428938
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia388074
Dallas3527149
Chambers3500122
Clarke346360
Marion3066100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256458
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224955
Hale218775
Butler212366
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171540
Washington164038
Macon154848
Clay149454
Crenshaw149357
Cleburne146041
Lamar139334
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99328
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 76°
Columbus
Partly Cloudy
71° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 71°
Oxford
Partly Cloudy
72° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 72°
Starkville
Clear
72° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 72°
Clouds increase a bit more on Tuesday, though there will still be plenty of sunshine at times. Temperatures will remain very warm. An isolated sprinkle or shower is possible later in the day, though rain chances are much more likely into Wednesday as a cold front passes.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather