The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local News

July 11, 2014

Council backs county’s package for new business

Sunday, July 13, 2014 — The town of Badin was quick to back the economic incentive package the county plans to offer an industrial ceramics manufacturer.

The unnamed company is considering two buildings at Badin Business Park for its future operations.

At Tuesday’s meeting, the Town Council unanimously agreed to forfeit 75 percent of the property taxes the town of Badin would collect from the business during its first five years, or a total of about $1 million, if the company chooses to settle there. The county approved a matching percentage on Monday; those grants would total $1.7 million.

“The fact of the matter is we need jobs badly, especially ones that pay well,” Mayor Jim Harrison said.

The 155 jobs the business is projected to bring would pay an average of about $45,000 annually, according to a presentation given on the incentive package at Monday’s county commission meeting.

“When we think about our future, we have to realize our kids need those jobs,” Harrison said.

The business would also bring in more than $1.3 million in tax revenue to Badin during those five years, netting the town about $300,000.

However, Harrison said the town has not let its hopes get too high.

Badin Business Park is competing against at least one other place for the unnamed company’s attention, he said.

“And we’ve had other chances like this over the past several years, but we lost them,” Harrison said.

Clean Tech, a global clean technology corporation, and Horse Head, the largest zinc producer in the U.S., are the two examples that immediately came to his mind. Both showed an interest in the Badin Business Park and had the potential to offer just as many jobs as this new ceramics manufacturer, but both fell through, he said.

“I guess you could say we’re cautiously optimistic,” Harrison said.

While Town Manager Jay Almond and the mayor could not give details about their rival locations, they did say Badin Business Park will be strong competition for any of them.

“Badin Business Park is one of the premier industrial sites in the region,” Almond said.

“You’ve got water and sewer, you’ve got natural gas.”

Thanks to the large amount of electricity Alcoa required to process aluminum there previously, there is also a large electric capacity, he said.

“You’ve got two competing rail lines,” Harrison added.

While one of the rail lines would need an upgrade before it could service the business park, having two rail lines in the area would keep transportation costs competitive and low, he explained.

There are also four major buildings in the park already equipped with multiple 20-ton cranes. Once the cranes are inspected and any repairs made they would be ready to load product onto rail cars, Almond said.

“All of the infrastructure is there,” he said.

“It’s not an empty field where you have to build from scratch. It’s just plug and play.”

If the business does decide to settle there, the Council has hopes it will draw further attention to the benefits of the business park.

Electronic Recyclers International, Inc. is the only company at the park. The company employs 50-100 employees, Harrison said, and is looking to hire another 50-60 soon.

“Once you get a certain number of businesses in there, though, they start to spin off of each other,” Harrison said.

They can sell products to one another, attract more businesses who are in need of those products, he said.

“Hopefully this would help us reach that critical mass,” he said.

But we’re still playing it cautiously, he added.

“If we seem a little close-lipped it’s because we don’t want to do anything that will mess this up,” he said.

To submit story ideas, contact Shannon Beamon at (704) 982-2121 ext. 24 or at shannon@stanlynewspress.com.

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