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Incentives for frame manufacturer approved

 

By David Bodenheimer
The Dispatch

Published: Tuesday, February 14, 2012 at 10:12 p.m.

 

Carolina Frame Builders is one step closer to opening shop in Thomasville after the Davidson County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved an incentives package for the South Carolina manufacturing company.

 

The company is eyeing a vacant facility at 215 Washboard Road in Thomasville and plans to invest more than $1 million and create 20 plus jobs over the next five years.

 

Tuesday, commissioners approved a $14,000 incentives package, not to exceed $2,800 each year over the five-year period.

 

The company manufactures frames that they in turn sale to upholstery companies. Steve Googe, executive director of the Davidson County Economic Development Commission, said Carolina Frame Builders has a current customer base in Davidson County but declined to say specifically who the company supplies to.

 

Earlier in the month, Shelton Hinson of Carolina Frame Builders told The Dispatch that the United Furniture Industries plant in Lexington, which makes Simmons bedding, is a customer.

Googe, who has only been working with officials at Carolina Frame Builders for about two months said the deal and the desire to relocate to Davidson County was customer driven.

 

"It's a prime base, they're looking to expand that in the area," he said.

 

Monday, the Thomasville City Council will look to make a decision on its incentives package, which is similar to what commissioners passed. If approved, the package would essentially cut half of the company's property taxes in half over the five-year period.

 

In other news, the board narrowly passed a request for a qualifications bid that will allow the county to explore privatizing the landfill, which is currently operated by the county.

 

Commissioner Fred McClure added the item to the meeting's agenda and said the bids will allow the county to gauge whether the county could benefit from having private management at the landfill.

 

The county has operated the landfill as an enterprise fund for many years. On average, the landfill is not highly profitable though it doesn't lose money annually. Assistant Davidson County Manager Zeb Hanner said the fluctuations in the operating costs and revenues at the landfill are directly affected by capital expenses. If the county needs to purchase new equipment, those dollars are required upfront, Hanner said.

 

Private ownership would take that burden off the county. McClure said by submitting an RFQ, the county could get a better idea if such a move would be practical for the county and citizens.

However, not every commissioner was on board. Commissioners Billy Joe Kepley, Cathy Dunn and board chairman Sam Watford voted against the proposal. Kepley, who was most outspoken, said the landfill is a model for other state landfills and is operating smoothly.

 

"I don't want to tinker with the landfill," he said. "It's not broken, don't fix it."

 

Commissioners sharing adverse views said bidding an RFQ doesn't mean they will turn over the landfill to an outside company.

 

"It just gives us another idea," McClure said. "We don't have enough information yet to know if this would be a good decision."

 

Moving forward, commissioners stated they would look to form a small committee to review the RFQ's. It was unclear when that process will begin.

 

David Bodenheimer can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 227, or at david.bodenheimer@the-dispatch.com.


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