Magna Composites seeks incentives, may add jobs
By Shelley Smithssmith@salisburypost.com
Rowan County commissioners will consider tax incentives Monday for the possible expansion of an automotive parts plant that could bring 162 new full-time, high-paying jobs to the county.
Magna Composites would spend about $7.8 million adding to and upgrading its plant 6701 Statesville Blvd. to accommodate a consolidation of the operations of Meridian Automotive Systems, which Magna bought in June.
Under the county’s economic incentives grant program, Rowan would rebate, for five years, 75 percent of the property taxes Magna pays on its expansion. Over the five-year period, Magna would get back nearly $161,000 in tax rebates, while the county would collect more than $53,000 in addition to the taxes it already collects from Magna.
After five years, the county would retain the entire tax collection and, in the 10 years following approval of the request, would receive an estimated $213,927 in property taxes.
But the company must perform to receive the grants, and the county can cancel at any time.
“The company doesn’t receive the grant unless they perform,” said Robert Van Geons, executive director of the Salisbury-Rowan Economic Development Commission. “Nothing is put up front by the county.”
If the expansion occurs, Magna would add to the 198 full-time workers currently employed in Rowan County. The company, which operates the plant under its Decoma International division manufacturing exterior body parts for automobiles, would likely convert many of the 60 temporary positions there to full-time jobs as part of the workforce expansion.
The proposed 162 new full-time jobs will pay an average of $19.20 an hour, or more than $39,000 per year, Van Geons said in materials prepared for county commissioners.
Of the possible 162 new positions, 122 would be production operators, 28 maintenance technicians and 12 engineers. Renovations to the facility would begin in 2010 and create many temporary or contract positions.
Magna proposes to consolidate Meridian Automotive’s operations from states across the U.S. into three facilities in North Carolina: Salisbury, Newton and Lenoir. The total cost of the consolidation is estimated at about $8.8 million.
Construction for the improvements would be completed by the third quarter of 2010, and the company would be eligible for the first investment grant payment during the 2011-12 fiscal year.
Van Geons pointed out, however, that Rowan officials aren’t the only ones considering incentives for Magna.
“This meeting Monday is only Rowan County’s discussion about our portion of this operation,” said Van Geons said. “There is a much larger portion going on on the state level.”
Through possible training, tax credits and potential grants from the state, Van Geons said, the company could receive $16 in support from other sources for every $1 that Rowan County provides in assistance.
If the proposed project is approved, Magna could end up with nearly as many full-time employees as Performance Fibers, according to Economic Development Commission figures.
“We have the opportunity to actively support an existing industry and confirm our role within this important industrial cluster,” says an Economic Development Commission impact study. “If approved, news of this project will resonate positively with companies connected to these operations, both locally and beyond.”
The study went on to say that “successful public-private partnerships, especially in these difficult economic times, will increase Rowan County’s reputation as a business-friendly community.”