Commissioners will consider tax incentives for $10.5-million, 40-job expansion project

Published 12:08 am Sunday, December 5, 2021

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Board of Commissioners on Monday will consider approving a tax incentive grant for a project that could create 40 jobs in the next two years and bring $10.5 million in facility improvements and new equipment.

The company behind “Project Excelsior” is an existing manufacturer in Rowan County that is considering expanding one of its current facilities or establishing a new facility somewhere in the Southeast. The company is expanding to meet an increased demand for its products, according to a memo sent to commissioners by the Rowan Economic Development Council.

If Rowan County is chosen for the expansion, 85% of the 40 new jobs would be in production and logistics categories. The remainder would be in managerial and sales positions. Physical improvements related to the expansion would begin in early 2022 and be completed by the end of 2023.

The company previously received a level one grant from the Board of Commissioners, which has the county return 75% of a company’s paid taxes for five years. The company behind “Project Excelsior” has not yet finished the term on its previously awarded grant.

To avoid a second agreement with the company for this expansion, the Rowan EDC proposes commissioners consider amending the original five-year deal to extend its term by two years. During the two additional years, the company would receive a grant equal to only 33% of the new taxes paid.

Modeled with a 10-year horizon, Rowan County would stand to collect an estimated $549,189 of new revenue from “Project Excelsior” after the investment grant is disbursed.

The Board of Commissioners will meet at 3 p.m. in the J. Newton Cohen Sr. Room on the second floor of the Rowan County Administration Building.

The meeting can be joined virtually at bit.ly/rowanboc1206 using password 120621 or by phone by dialing 602-753-0140, 720-928-9299 or 213-338-8477.

Also on the meeting agenda:

• Commissioners will consider approving two separate contracts with lobbying firms to promote Rowan County’s interests in both Washington, D.C., and Raleigh. The first contract is with Strategics Consulting, which is based in the nation’s capital and founded by Leslie Mozingo.

Mozingo has experience consulting with the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, according to the company’s website.

The county would pay Strategics $5,000 per month for services, which would include biweekly updates to the Board of Commissioners by email, aid in monitoring legislation and policies that potentially affect the county and yearly strategic meetings to set specific goals for upcoming years.

The second contract is with McGuireWoods Consulting, a national firm that would provide lobbying support to Rowan County in Raleigh. The county would pay McGuireWoods $5,000 per month for services, which would be similar to those provided by Strategics.

Rowan County has not historically paid lobbyists, but commissioners discussed changing that last year before allocating $60,000 in the current fiscal year budget to pay for lobbyists.

• Commissioners will hear a request from the Rowan County Post Overdose Response Team for funding in 2022. The PORT team works to prevent opioid-related overdoses and provide support for those using opioids and other dangerous substances. The three-person team has been working to combat an increase in overdose deaths in Rowan County since the start of the pandemic. The PORT team’s funding is currently set to expire at the end of this month. The team is requesting $240,390 in American Rescue Plan Funding from the county to continue operating next year and to hire a peer health specialist.

• The board will hold a hearing regarding a request from Taylor Clay Products for the company to amend the special use permit it was granted in September. The company wishes to increase the approved building expansion square footage from 7,875 to 12,000 at its existing brick manufacturing facility at 1225 Chuck Taylor Lane.

• Commissioners will consider approving a work authorization contract with Talbert, Bright and Ellington for the company to design and bid a new development at the Mid-Carolina Regional Airport. The project includes a public safety hangar, a corporate hangar and a set of three box hangars. The overall cost of the services will be about $1.27 million.

The airport expansion plans were approved earlier this year.

The public safety hangar will be used primarily by the N.C. Highway Patrol. The corporate hangar will be used by private companies.

Another airport-related item on the agenda for the board’s consideration is Alan Overcash’s sale of his hangar at Mid-Carolina Regional Airport to DRM Air LLC for $50,000.

• Commissioners will consider approving a contract with the FMRT Group for psychological services for the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office for a fiscal year 2022 at a cost not to exceed $25,000. The move comes just a few weeks before House Bill 436 goes into effect at the start of 2022. The bill requires administering a psychological screening examination, including a face-to-face, in-person interview conducted by a licensed psychologist, to determine the criminal justice officer’s psychological suitability prior to employment.

• The board will consider approving a contract with S.E. Collins for the engineering firm to replace the boiler at Rowan County Library headquarters for an amount not to exceed $4,800.

• Commissioners will approve a meeting schedule for 2022. The board will still meet at 3 p.m. on the first Monday of each month and 6 p.m. on the third Monday, except when the schedule conflicts with certain holidays.

• The board will receive an update from Open Broadband about efforts to expand broadband in Rowan County.