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Article 55
Published: Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 9:01 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, December 8, 2009 at 9:01 p.m.

County OKs, modifies economic development incentive grants

By VIKKI BROUGHTON HODGES
The Dispatch

The Davidson County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved economic development incentive grants for three businesses and modified three grants with existing industries at its meeting Tuesday night.

Steve Googe, executive director of the Davidson County Economic Development Commission, recommended the board approve the grants. He said he believed the incentive grants and modifications to existing grants would help create new and permanent jobs, stimulate the local economy and increase the county tax base and revenue.

The board held four separate public hearings prior to the grant approvals but no one spoke except local government watchdog Barney Hill, who stated his support for the grants but not the wording of the legal notices.

Commissioners approved three economic development incentive grants for Johnson Concrete, Diamond Back Co. and Sowers and Co. Veneers.

Johnson Concrete will receive a grant calculated at .0054 times the company’s investment in the plant, machinery and equipment, for up to two years, and not to exceed $9,500 a year. As a provision of the contract, through additional job creation, the company will maintain a minimum of 17 jobs for a five-year period following the entry of the contract.

Sowers and Co. Veneers will be entitled to a grant calculated at .0027 times the company’s investment in the plant for five years and .0054 times the investment in machinery and equipment for one year. The grant won’t exceed $810 per year for the five-year period and will not exceed $1,620 for the one-year grant. The proposed additional investment in the facility is $300,000 with the hiring of 10 additional people within the first three years of the contract and the maintenance of those positions for the remainder of the contract period.

Diamond Back Co. will be entitled to a grant calculated at .0027 times the company’s investment in the plant for five years and .0054 times the investment in machinery and equipment for one year. The grant won’t exceed $1,350 per year for the five-year period and will not exceed $2,700 for the one-year grant. The proposed additional investment in the facility is $500,000 with the hiring of 30 additional people within the first three years of the contract and the maintenance of those positions for the remainder of the contract period.

In the final public hearing, the board also amended economic development incentive grants previously approved for Unilin Flooring, Arneg and Imaflex by waiving the job and wage requirements in the contracts as long as unemployment is above double digits in the county, which it has been for the past six months.

The county unemployment rate was 13.1 percent in October.

“We can’t penalize these companies for the economy,” said Sam Watford, vice chairman of the board.

In other action, the board gave final approval to $5.1 million in qualified school construction bonds, financed by BB&T at an annual interest rate not to exceed 2.11 percent for a financing term not to extend beyond Dec. 31, 2024.

The bonds will be used for the following school improvement projects: roof replacements at Midway Elementary, Welcome Elementary, Stoner-Thomas, Thomasville High School and the Alternative Learning Center; a new chiller at Thomasville Middle School; a new air conditioning system at Thomasville High School; classroom renovations at Lexington Middle School; and roof replacement and classroom additions at Southwest Elementary School.

In other matters, the board:

• Accepted an annual audit report of the county’s finances for the 2008-09 fiscal year presented by an auditor with Martin Starnes & Associates who presented the comprehensive report analyzing revenue, savings and budget levels. The county got an “unqualified opinion,” which is the top grade.
“Just a cursory look at this says this county is in pretty good shape,” said Dr. Max Walser, chairman of the board.

• Appointed Beth Silver, the business/human resources manager at The Oaks, to the Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee and Bob Butts, a retired educator, to the Teaching Scholarship Committee, to replace Kay Furr, who moved to South Carolina.

Vikki Broughton Hodges can be reached at 249-3981, ext. 214, or at vikki.hodges@the-dispatch.com.

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