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Tuesday, 18 September 2018 16:02

Commissioners approve economic incentive grants for two businesses

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Halifax County commissioners Monday night approved two economic development incentive grants — one for a company considering locating in the area and another for an established industry looking to expand.

County Economic Development Director Cathy Scott declined to name the companies, their locations or the nature of their business.

County Attorney Glynn Rollins and County Manager Tony Brown also declined to disclose that information, them and Scott saying releasing that information could jeopardize state grant funding for the projects.

Scott said the county is likely to seek other funding options to make the projects reality including Community Development Block grants and One North Carolina funding.

Before commissioners unanimously approved the incentives the board held public hearings on each proposal. Only Bill Hodge of the Coalition for Education and Economic Security spoke during each hearing.

The first hearing was on a proposal entitled Project Ruther.

According to supporting information contained in the meeting agenda packet a manufacturing company is considering location of operations in the county.

The company is expected to create a total of $12 million in taxable investment in the form of real property improvement and machinery and equipment.

It is expected to create 50 full-time jobs.

The average salary, Scott told the board before the public hearing, is $40,400 a year or $19.42 per hour.

Commissioners agreed to expend $330,000 to be paid in annual installments of $66,000.

Both commissioners Rives Manning and Patrick Qualls pointed out no money would be paid until the company met its tax obligation and job creation goals. This applies to both projects.

The other incentive grant the board approved is for a business called Project Boss.

The $120,000 the board agreed to expend is for a company considering expanding its manufacturing operations to create an additional $5.975 million in taxable investment within the county.

Expansion would mean an additional 42 new full-time jobs. It currently has 58 employees, Scott told the board.

Under terms of the Project Boss incentive, the county agreed to pay the $120,000 in installments of $24,000 over five years.

During the public hearings, Hodge told the board the projects “seem like good investments.”

But he also reminded the board of failed projects such as Empire Foods, Swelect and the slowness of the Klausner 2 project in Enfield.

He suggested instead of the incentive package the county was considering to use a rebate after taxes were paid.

Rollins told him, however, “rebate of taxes is illegal. I don’t think we’ve ever lost money doing an incentive grant.”

Rollins said the companies must meet 90 percent of their goals to be eligible for the county dollars.

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