Last updated: June 01. 2013 1:23PM - 227 Views
Keith Strange
Civitas News Service

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ELKIN — With a unanimous vote and little fanfare, the Surry County Board of Commissioners passed an incentive package that economic development officials say can make a real difference for future workers.

The action came as the board met for its regular meeting at Elkin High School.

The package for the as-yet-unnamed company, called Project Shield, includes a cash grant of about $28,000 from the North Carolina Rural Center, with a local match of up to $5,000.

Mount Airy has scheduled a public hearing on Thursday on a proposal to offer up to $33,090 in incentives, which includes a $5,000 matching grant from the North Carolina Rural Center. In the city, commissioners there learned earlier this month another locality is also vying for the jobs.

“We’re in competition,” Mount Airy Community Development Coordinator Martin Collins told the city board of commissioners.

In return for the county and city incentives, the company is expected to invest about $1.5 million in Mount Airy to purchase equipment and upgrade an existing building, and create about 20 jobs over a five-year period.

“It’s a local company, a metal working industry,” said Surry County Economic Development Partnership President Todd Tucker Monday night to the Surry County Board of Commissioners. “We’re in negotiations to expand their facility with another plant they operate outside of North Carolina.”

During a hearing on the proposal, Tucker said the investment will improve both “the company and our community.”

“This is a good project,” he said. “We’re always excited to welcome a new company to our area, but it’s especially nice to help an existing company to expand and grow our own industry.

“The jobs this company will provide will be well-paying, skilled jobs, and this is a good, advanced manufacturing business to work for,” Tucker added.

He said he foresees additional expansion if the package was approved.

“I believe this is just the first phase of greater and larger things to come,” he said, noting the business already employs about 60 workers.

It was a sentiment echoed by Betty Ann Collins, president of the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce.

“After reading about this project in the media, what the county is being asked for is about a year’s salary, for an investment of $1.5 million and the creation of 20 jobs,” she said. “You can make a difference in the lives of 20 families tonight, a real difference.”

The investment in the company was passed on a motion by Commissioner Paul Johnson with a second by Commissioner Larry Phillips.

The incentive package is contingent on the company’s investment and job creation.

Reach Keith Strange at kstrange@civitasmedia.com or 719-1929.

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