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Halifax County economic development officials are attempting to lure an unknown manufacturing company to the Halifax Industrial Center, an area off Highway 903 where companies such as Reser’s Fine Foods, Don Pancho and PCB are already located.

Called Project Subway, the company is expected to produce 79 jobs and pay a wage of $679 a week, more than the current average wage of $612, said Cathy Scott, county economic development director.

Scott declined to name the business or what it intends to manufacture.

In information contained in today’s agenda packet of the Halifax County Board of Commissioners, it is noted “a manufacturing company is considering the expansion of its manufacturing operations in Halifax County. The company will create an additional total of $7,700,000 in taxable investment within the county in the form of machinery and equipment.”

The supporting information contained in the packet says the county  “is authorized to appropriate and expend funds for economic development purposes.”

For Project Subway, the information says, “The county proposes to appropriate and expend funds in the amount of $200,000 to be paid in annual installments over the next five years. The amount of each grant payment will be contingent upon the level of taxable investment and actual number of jobs created by the company in any given year.”

Another part to reel in the company is to convey approximately 8.5 acres of land in the industrial center to the manufacturing concern. The county has determined the fair market value of the property to be $20,000 per acre for a total of $160,000. “As consideration for this conveyance, the board will take into account prospective tax revenues over the next ten years from the improvements to be constructed on the property by the company. The company will be contractually bound to make the anticipated improvements as a condition of the conveyance.”

Says the document containing the supporting information, “The expansion of this manufacturing company in Halifax County will stimulate,diversify, and stabilize the local economy, promote business in Halifax County, increase the population and taxable property in Halifax County, and result in the creation of a substantial number of good paying jobs in Halifax County.”

One person speaking during a public hearing on the matter said having a public hearing on the proposal without knowing details, “It’s a little bit of a sham.”

Scott explained not immediately naming the company or the nature of its manufacturing is common when state incentives are at play.

Bill Hodge, of the Coalition for Education and Economic Security, asked during the public hearing what happens if something goes wrong.

If there are any problems, Scott said, the land reverts back to the county.

After commissioners approved offering the incentive and land conveyance, Commissioner Patrick Qualls said if this project is successful the county would be left with no more useable property in the area. “I think it would be a good idea to sell that property.”

Commissioner Linda Brewer agreed, “I don’t think we ought to be in the business of being landowners.”

The county will look into those possibilities.

Scott said that the center is almost full shows “the proximity to Interstate 95 is premier for economic development.”

Change in Premier Boulevard project

Scott in her report to commissioners later in the meeting said the four-store construction by Windsor Commercial of Greensboro is underway.

She said, however, instead of Mattress Warehouse being one of those businesses, an AT&T store is now planned.

The other businesses planned are Jersey Mike’s and Great Clips along with a fourth business which, according to earlier plans submitted is supposed to be a restaurant with a drive-through.

The fourth business remains unknown, Scott said.