Davidson commissioners talk business and finance
The Davidson County Commissioners focused on finances and economic development incentives Tuesday.
The board approved two small incentives projects before launching into a discussion on the proposed industrial megasite near Linwood and approving the start of development on a portion of the site.
Commissioners approved the Project Hem incentive with little discussion on a unanimous vote. Project Hem is a merger of two companies, both of which plan to invest in the area.
Steve Googe, executive director for the Davidson County Economic Development Commission, said he could not name or describe the industries.
Project Hem companies propose to invest $2.3 million and provide at least 30 jobs at a wage equal to the county’s average wage, Googe told commissioners. The incentive package for Project Hem will not exceed annual payments of $6,210 per year, each year, for five years.
Commissioners also unanimously approved an incentive for Project Z13, a proposed investment of $2 million to provide 11 jobs at an average wage of $50,000, with additional jobs to follow, Googe told commissioners.
Googe said the injections molding firm would increase the county tax base and revenues. The grant would not exceed annual payments of $5,940 per year, each year, for five years.
“Why have a cap on either of these two?” said resident Barney HIll. “Why ration investment? It’s paid by the other man’s money.”
The cap prevents a fluctuation in the investment, Googe said.
“We have had companies leave,” he said.
Commissioner Todd Yates said he would no longer vote for projects involving unknown companies. “As an elected official, I can’t do that,” he said.
The Davidson County Commissioners are being asked to commit $10 million for the first two phases of the project, which would be used to repay several loans. Board Chairman Fred McClure brought the issue back to the board for discussion. Commissioners still have mixed views, but voted 4-3 for a smaller scale development that would cost the county a $3 million contribution to an infrastructure package. Commissioners Todd Yates, Billy Joe Kepley and Steve Jarvis voted against the project.
It would take about $17.3 million to pay for the development of the entire site, including money for the extension of sewer, water and gas lines and the grading of one 500,000 square-foot pad and another one million-square-foot pad, according to estimates. Plans also call for roads, curb and gutters leading to the land at the site.
The planned industrial park, which would be located south of Belmont Road, has been called one of the state’s top potential megasites larger than 1,000 acres.
Commissioners will schedule a public hearing on the proposed project at a later date.
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