03/10/06 — Officials courting second new industry

View Archive

Officials courting second new industry

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on March 10, 2006 1:59 PM

First steps toward approval of incentives for an as yet, unnamed and unconfirmed business could bring more new jobs to Wayne County.

The county's Board of Commissioners held a special session Thursday afternoon to approve a public hearing concerning the conveyance of Lot 18 at ParkEast and to provide five years of grants to an industry that could bring 250 jobs to the county.

Although the industry has not formally agreed to locate to Wayne County, Economic Development Commission President Joanna Thompson said a public hearing is the first step in providing incentives to an industry interested in the area.

"This is not a done deal. You have to get all of your ducks in a row so, if they announce, we can pull the trigger," Ms. Thompson said.

The public hearing will be at 9:15 a.m. March 21 at the Board of Commissioners' next meeting, which will be held in the commission meeting room, which is located on the fourth floor of the Wayne County Courthouse.

Any county resident can attend to provide input on whether or not the commissioners should convey the land and provide the grants. The grants would be given throughout a five-year period in the amount of taxes paid by the industry for machinery and equipment at the ParkEast site, county attorney Borden Parker said.

The initial investment of the unnamed industry would be about $9 million. Wayne County Manager Lee Smith said the Board of Commissioners and the EDC have signed statements of confidentiality with the industry and cannot provide certain information, including the industry's name.

Smith said this is an important moment for the county and that being able to find another industry that is interested in locating to Wayne County speaks volumes about the dedication of the EDC staff and cooperation among county leaders.

"I think this says that the county and all of the municipalities are coming out and helping us do what we have to do to recruit," he said.

During a public hearing on Jan. 3, the commissioners heard public input on conveying 20 acres of land at ParkEast, providing up to $30,000 a year in grants for three years and paying $1.2 million to an industry that would provide an initial investment of $9.9 million and 300 jobs.

These were incentives for Andrew Corp. to locate to the area. Later in January, Andrew Corp. announced it would move from its Smithfield plant to Wayne County.

During the special session Thursday, Parker suggested the commissioners finalize the deal with the option of allowing Andrew Corp. to purchase more land at ParkEast, if necessary for growth, for a fair market value of $40,000 an acre. The commissioners approved the suggestion unanimously.