10/04/07 — County will weigh incentive grant for Reuel Inc.

View Archive

County will weigh incentive grant for Reuel Inc.

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on October 4, 2007 2:22 PM

Meeting Tuesday morning, the Wayne County Board of Commissioners voted to schedule two public hearings -- one for its next meeting on Oct. 16 and one on Nov. 6.

The first, which will begin at 9:15 a.m., will be to consider the grant package offered to Reuel Inc. by the county as an incentive to stay in Goldsboro and expand.

Included in the proposed deal is a $50,000 grant to match one half of the state's $100,000 One North Carolina Fund grant. The other half is expected to come from the city of Goldsboro. As part of the One North Carolina program created by the governor's office, communities are required to match the state's incentive grants.

Additionally, the county also will be considering three additional grants of up to $50,000 each for 2009, 2010 and 2011. Those funds would be limited to the excess ad valorem taxes collected as a result of the additional real and personal property added to the tax base by Reul's expansion after it purchased the Traction Power Division of Impulse Manufacturing of Mount Olive.

Goldsboro also is expected to provide the same $50,000 grants.

Offering the incentives, though, county Manager Lee Smith said, is not something that is done lightly. But in this case county officials thought it was the best thing to do.

"We done this before," he said. "We look at the investment the company will make in new jobs and payroll and see what we can do to make that happen here. They had expansion opportunities elsewhere. (This incentive package) is a drop in the bucket. We kept those jobs here."

There also is some agreement on the board -- pending the public hearing -- that offering the incentive package was a good idea.

"In principal, I support things like this, as long as they are as beneficial to the taxpayers as possible," Commissioner Andy Anderson said. "If don't do this and the company left, we'd lose those jobs and that income.

"In this case, by doing this, we've not only kept those jobs, but the company also is expanding. It's always a case of weighing the options -- what there is to gain, what there is to lose."

Commission Chairman John Bell agreed, adding that in today's economic climate, there often is little choice but to play the game.

"Everybody has to offer something. It's unfortunate, but we have to compete with all the other states," he said. "But we don't give away the store. We try to negotiate and come out with the best deal."

The other public hearing, also at 9:15 a.m., will be on the rezoning request from Jack Smith for his 11-acre tract along the west side of N.C. 581, just south of U.S. 70.

Currently the land is being used for farming, but is bordered on two sides by residential lots. He is asking that it be rezoned community shopping -- in large part, county Planning Director Connie Price said, because of its proximity to the new Wal-Mart being built.

The planning board, however, because of the property's relationship to the residential areas, is recommending it be rezoned village district, which would allow for either future residential or limited commercial use. Officials also are recommending that the adjoining vacant property currently owned by Rosewood Mobile Park be rezoned village, while on the opposite side of a planned state service road, next to U.S. 70, they are recommending another 8.6 acres be rezoned community shopping.

Also Tuesday morning, the board voted to tighten the "Non-Smoking Areas" around the county offices at 301 Herman St., where the Health Department and the Department of Social Services are housed.

No longer will smoking be allowed at the front entrance facing Herman Street, the side entrance facing Ash Street, the back entrance facing Lionel Street or the back entrance facing Simmons Street. The only area where smoking will be permitted is next to the Buildings and Grounds building.

And finally, the commissioners began going through the Wayne County Comprehensive Plan step by step Tuesday, as they begin to think about what actions might be viable for the upcoming year and what their priorities are. They will finish at their Oct. 16 meeting.

The goal, Smith explained, is to be done by the time he meets with department heads on Oct. 31 to develop strategies and begin preparations for the 2008-09 budget process.

"We may do some of these this coming year. Some of them may be a few years out. But probably 90 to 95 percent of what you're going to do in the upcoming budget is right here," Smith said. "The next eight months are going to be busy as we move into the planning stages of the projects that will affect us for the next eight to ten years."