3-10-2020 County OKs cash for new jobs

Posted on: March 11th, 2020 by admin


March 10, 2020


By Guy Lucas

Mar 10, 2020 11:09 AM


Three local businesses are planning expansions that could create about 100 new full-time jobs, and economic development officials are trying to lure a new industry to the area that could create several hundred more jobs.


The Caldwell County Board of Commissioners approved job-creation incentives of $2,000 per job created for all four projects. The incentives for each would not be paid unless the company documents the number of jobs created and filled.


By far the largest project is the most uncertain. It involves a company that is considering Caldwell County among other sites for a $15 million investment in a new manufacturing plant expected to create 400 jobs over three years and eventually perhaps as many as 600, said Deborah Murray, the executive director of the Caldwell County Economic Development Commission.


The company’s name is not being released until it selects a site. Murray refers to the company publicly as Project Q.


The commissioners approved offering incentives of $2,000 for each job created up to a maximum of $800,000. They also approved offering a tax grant that would return to the company 75% of the property taxes that would be assessed on the increased value created by the company’s investment. The grant would last for five years.


The county incentives would serve as local matching money for a state Job Development Investment Grant package for the company as well. If the company chooses Caldwell, the governor’s office would announce that package.


Of the three other projects, only one of the companies was identified. Roblon in Granite Falls, which makes coverings for optical fiber cables, plans to spend about $1 million on an expansion that is expected to add 30 new jobs over the coming year.


That comes after an expansion begun in late 2018 that grew Roblon’s employment from 47 to 73 and involved about $850,000 of investment in machinery and equipment, according to documents provided to the commissioners.


Another local company, which has asked local officials not to release its name until it announces its plans to employees, plans to invest $500,000 on an expansion that could add 60 full-time jobs to its current 141.


In addition to the job-creation incentives offered by the county to the company, referred to as Project Trilogy, Lenoir also has signed on to an application for the company to receive a state building reuse grant to help pay for its expansion.


Murray said the third company, referred to as Project Drumstick, has requested that its name be withheld while it considers whether it can expand on its current site or will need to find a new site. She said it is a “wood-based” manufacturer and is planning investing up to $1 million in an expansion that could more than double its employment, going from its current 12 full-time jobs to as much as 27.


In other business, the commissioners approved spending up to $7,300 to help Caldwell County Animal Control buy a climate-controlled trailer that could hold up to 12 animals at a time so Animal Control can take animals to pet adoption events around the county. The total cost of the trailer is expected to be $18,300, and Animal Control currently has about $12,300 in private donations to help pay for it, Health Director Anna Martin said.


The commissioners also approved rezoning a 1.36-acre site on the south side of Wilkesboro Boulevard between Cedar Rock and Lenoir that is owned by Tommy L. McGee from a residential zoning to general business. County Planning Director Shelley Stevens said she thinks the current plan is to put a surveying business on the site.

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