Monday, August 6, 2007

Chrysler eyes Yucca test site

KINGMAN - The Arizona Proving Ground in Yucca could be the new home to the Chrysler Company.

The Mohave County Board of Supervisors will be asked Monday to join Kingman and Lake Havasu City in providing incentives to attract the automobile company to the Yucca test site, Mohave County Deputy Director of Economic Development Jonas Peterson said.

Last year, Ford Motor Company chose to close its Yucca proving ground and merge its proving ground in Romeo, Mich., into one facility.

Chrysler is looking at the former Ford proving grounds off Interstate 40 as a hot weather testing grounds. The company is also looking at sites in Laredo, Texas, and Chelsea, Mich., Peterson said.

The Arizona Commerce and Economic Development Commission has offered to contribute $250,000 in matching funds as incentive to Chrysler to locate the proving grounds in Yucca. The ACEDC would also loan the county $150,000, or 60 percent, with Kingman and Lake Havasu City contributing a total of $100,000 or 40 percent. The county would pay back the loan in 10 years at a rate of 4.5 percent.

If the 3,840-acre Yucca site is selected, at least 75 high-paying jobs could be created and create $10 million in capital investment in testing facilities and infrastructure. The site has 50 miles of test roads and a 109,000-square-foot building.

Property tax contributed to the county's general fund was more than $51,000 in 2006 with more than $159,000 in total property tax. By 2010, that is expected to be more than $49,000 contributed to the general fund with more than $157,000 in total property tax if Chrysler picks the Yucca site.

That could also mean up to 167 jobs with $8.5 million in wages as well as employee sales, income, vehicle license and other taxes to the county and state.

Before Ford left the Yucca test site, the company also purchased more than $600,000 in supplies, $450,000 in utilities and $1.7 million in local hotel and restaurants visits a year.

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