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With plans for expansion, local business receives county, city tax incentives

SALISBURY — A local business with plans to create 24 jobs received help with its expansion Tuesday when the Rowan County commissioners and Salisbury City Council approved two tax incentives packages.

Known as Project Aero, the name of the business has not been officially announced. But a company called Alloy Works matches the profile of the business described during Tuesday’s commissioners and City Council meetings.

The company melts titanium to be used for airplane parts, according to City Council minutes from a June meeting.

Officials have said that a multinational company owns the local business being considered for the incentives.  The business employs 14 people in the city limits and has operated in Rowan County for more than 10 years.

“Some of you may even own stock in it,” RowanWorks Economic Development Vice President Scott Shelton said during Tuesday’s commissioners meeting.

Shelton said he could not reveal the name of the business because Project Aero heavily depends on state tax incentives, which could be awarded in October.

During the City Council meeting Tuesday, Councilman Kenny Hardin hinted at the name of the company when he said it recently requested a rezoning.

Alloy Works in June appeared before the City Council for a conditional district overlay zoning request. At that time, Jeremy Logan, technical operations manager for Allow Works, said the company employs 15 people and planned to make a $17 million investment that would create at least 21 jobs.

As proposed, the business’ expansion would create 24 jobs by the end of 2018 with an average annual salary of $50,000. Positions included in the 24 jobs would be production technicians, engineers, maintenance technicians, lab technicians and supervisors, Shelton said.

The expansion would mean a $17.6 million investment, according to RowanWorks.

During the June zoning hearing, Shelton said additional phases of an expansion could push the total investment to more than $50 million.

The Rowan County commissioners met at 3 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the tax incentives and did not debate the matter before voting in favor of it, which will provide an $87,450 yearly tax rebate for five years. The county would receive $29,150 each year in new tax revenue.

The amount rebated through the county’s tax incentives package equals 75 percent of real and personal property taxes.

After the five-year incentives period ends, the business expansion would generate $116,000 per year of new tax revenue for the county.

During its Tuesday meeting, the City Council approved a tax incentives package similar to the one approved by the county commissioners.

Before the council’s vote, members heard from Shelton, who gave a similar presentation at both meetings Tuesday.

They also heard from residents who are concerned about the proposed incentives package. Todd Paris and Nancy Vick said they don’t necessarily oppose the expansion of the company but rather the way that discussions about the incentives package were handled. Primarily, Paris and Vick were concerned with the fact that the company was not being identified.

“I think it’s unfair of you to ask us to agree to something that we know nothing about,” Vick said. “Money looks great and we all want jobs, but at the expense of what?”

After Paris and Vick spoke, Shelton attempted to address their concerns by saying why he could not formally reveal the name of the company.

“Don’t get me wrong; we’d love to disclose the name. But we’re in a position where the viability of the project depends on state incentives,” Shelton said. “The state will not approve theirs until we approve ours. So they put us in this position where the state wants to make this announcement.”

He added that if he disclosed the name of the company, it could jeopardize the state’s ability to award incentives and therefore prevent Salisbury from being chosen for the project.

It was then that Councilman Hardin said if people are concerned about the identity of the company, they could go back to previous City Council minutes to find the company’s name.

Hardin said with the knowledge that he had, he felt comfortable voting in favor of the incentives.

The council voted unanimously to approve the incentives.

Contact reporter Jessica Coates at 704-797-4222 and associate editor Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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