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Commissioners to consider multi-million-dollar tax incentive agreement

SALISBURY — Rowan County commissioners on Monday will consider extending the term of a tax incentive agreement for an unnamed company that has upped job figures for an economic development project.

The project, code-named “Project Kodiak,” would build a 700,000 square-foot facility on a Long Ferry Road site, adjacent to the interstate. The proposed capital investment is $55 million. And the job figure is now 1,250 by 2025, up from the 600 jobs previously proposed.

The average salary among the jobs would be $28,388 and include benefits, according to the Rowan County Economic Development Commission.

“If Project Kodiak were to select Rowan County, our community would have the signature outside recruitment win that all of us have all been working and waiting for over the past few years,” Economic Development Commission Vice President Scott Shelton wrote in a staff report. “In addition to the creation of 1,250 new jobs by the company, Project Kodiak would create an additional 4,480 indirect and induced jobs according to the Economic Policy Institute.”

While the name of the company looking at Rowan is unclear, the Economic Development Commission says the group behind Project Kodiak is an online retailer seeking to build an e-commerce fulfillment center.

Commissioners previously approved a five-year incentive agreement that would rebate 80 percent of new taxes paid and a $100,000 equipment grant.

With the increase in the number of proposed jobs, Rowan County commissioners are now being asked to extend the tax incentive agreement to 10 years and increase the equipment grant to $400,000.

A staff report from the Economic Development Commission says Project Kodiak is a highly competitive project with sites in South Carolina and Georgia also under consideration.

If approved Monday, Rowan County would collect an estimated $3.56 million in new taxes from the project over 10 years. Taxes reimbursed through the incentive agreement, however, would increase from $1.3 million to $2.3 million. So, $1.26 million is the net amount Rowan County would receive if Project Kodiak chooses the Long Ferry Road site.

The agreement would require that the company have 750 jobs by year two, 1,000 jobs by year four and 1,250 jobs by year six. The company would be required to retain 1,250 jobs until the end of the agreement to continue receiving annual rebates on taxes paid.

But that’s not all Rowan County may need to score the project, which would quickly be one of the county’s largest employers.

The site is not currently served by public sewer, which would be required. A staff report says Salisbury-Rowan Utilities could extend a 16-inch gravity sewer line under Interstate 85 to serve the Long Ferry Road site at a cost of $1.5 million.

State government has recommended up to $1.5 million in Community Development Block Grant funds to help pay for that extension. A staff report says the State Rural Infrastructure Board is likely to approve the funds at its April 18 board meeting.

In other business:

• Commissioners will view additional details about a Dollar General store at N.C. 152 and Organ Church Road that received zoning approval March 18.

Specifically, commissioners will see an architectural floor plan and exterior elevation details, a color image for illustration purposes only and images of a “monument-style” sign.

The Rowan County Board of Commissioners will be asked Monday to approve plans for the building.

• As part of the consent agenda, commissioners will be asked to schedule an April 15 public hearing for tax incentives for an economic development project called “Project Special.”

The project would be for an existing employer and propose to create 35 new jobs.

• Commissioners will consider a request from Dardon Engineering to expand operations at its facility on N.C. 152.

The request will come to commissioners in the form of a special, non-residential intensity allocation. The engineering company hopes to add two 11,250 square-foot storage structures, two 11,250 square-foot fabrication structures and one 30,000 square-foot trailer storage carport structure.

• Beth McKiethen, executive director of Prevent Child Abuse Rowan, will provide an update on child abuse statistics, and the board will be asked to consider approval of a proclamation for child abuse prevention month.

• As part of the consent agenda, Rowan County commissioners will consider extending a lease for Bath and Body Works at the West End Plaza.

Contact editor Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4248.

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