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China Grove company weighing 40-job expansion

By Josh Bergeron

josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

CHINA GROVE — As part of a multi-million-dollar expansion, a company in southern Rowan County hopes to add 40 jobs over the next five years.

On Monday, R+L Carriers, a freight shipping company, will ask Rowan County commissioners for tax incentives on Monday to help with a potential expansion of its China Grove facility. R+L Carriers wants to expand one of its facilities in North Carolina, South Carolina or Virginia, according to a project summary. The China Grove facility is one of the candidates for expansion.

The China Grove Town Council has already approved a zoning request that would allow for an expansion, which would create 40 full-time jobs over a period of five years. The average starting salary for the new jobs would be greater than $43,000, according to a project summary.

R+L Carriers’ China Grove facility sits at the intersection of U.S. 29 and Pine Ridge Road.

If China Grove is chosen, R+L Carriers expansion would include a 50-door terminal extension, an additional maintenance and office space, a truck wash and extra fueling lanes. It would take up to 10 months to complete.

Currently, the China Grove facility employs more than 230 people — 195 full-time and 44 part-time employees. R+L Carriers has operated a China Grove facility since the early 1990s.

If the incentive agreement is approved as proposed, R+L Carriers would receive three installments of $16,667. Rowan County would keep $31,696 per year of the $48,363 in new tax revenue generated by the expansion.

Commissioners will consider the incentive request during their regularly scheduled 3 p.m. meeting at the county administration building — 130 West Innes St. Rowan Works Economic Development Interim Director Scott Shelton will make a presentation about the incentive request before county commissioners hold a public hearing.

In other business on Monday’s agenda:

• County commissioners will hold a public hearing about and consider approval of a $6.5 million loan for improvements at schools in the Rowan-Salisbury System.

The loan will pay for roofing repairs and security upgrades at a number of schools. In January, Rowan County received loan proposals to pay for the $6.5 million in school improvements.

Finance Department staff recommend approval of a loan from First Bank, which will have an interest rate of 2.4 percent and result in interest costs of $813,230.14, according to a memo to county commissioners.

If approved by county commissioners, the loan will go to the state’s Local Government Commission for final approval.

• County commissioners will receive a presentation about the fiscal year 2016 audit.

The audit includes one finding related to the Rowan County Department of Social Services. The audit also shows that the county’s total fund balance, which partially serves as a savings account, at its highest level ever — $50.5 million.

The only finding noted by auditors states that a Social Services caseworker may have failed to perform required verification procedures for one applicant to the Children’s Health Insurance Program. Of 203 case files, auditors examined 60 and determined one applicant received benefits during the final year without verification, according to the audit.

During the 2015-2016 fiscal year, Rowan County’s total fund balance reached a higher mark than any of the previous nine years, according to the audit. County Manager Aaron Church says it’s the highest total fund balance ever.

• County commissioners are scheduled to go into closed session to talk about a number of issues.

One focus of the closed session will be development on Julian Road, near the fairgrounds and animal shelter. Plans for the area include James River Equipment and garbage truck manufacturer Amrep building facilities relatively close to each other.

Other items to be discussed during closed session include: the purchase of property and an economic development matter related to Atlantic Petroleum.

• Commissioners will hold a public hearing to discuss adding the term “utility lot” to the county’s subdivision ordinance.

The term “utility lot” would be for tracts of land that do not comply with minimum dimensional standards but serve a purpose as a non-residential lot.

In November, county commissioners delayed consideration of the term “utility lot” for 60 days.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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