Oakboro joins commissioners in offering breaks to Charlotte Pipe

Published 9:18 am Wednesday, May 6, 2020

The Oakboro Town Council approved Tuesday night a resolution detailing an offer of tax breaks and other considerations in order to build a new Charlotte Pipe and Foundry facility — much of it in the town.

As he had Monday night to the county commissioners, County Manager Andy Lucas presented the same information to the town council. The commissioners passed a similar resolution Monday night. (See related story: https://www.thesnaponline.com/2020/05/05/stanly-commissioners-pave-way-for-charlotte-pipe/  )

Lucas presented the specifics of the resolution to the town’s council and Mayor Joyce Little, saying a project like Blue Sky “can change the trajectory of a town.”

Other incentives for the town include water lines, sewer connections and the construction of an elevated water tank.

The town will be the provider of both services for the new factory, and will benefit from the revenues. The total costs of the upgrades will be $8.1 million, which are probably conservative because Lucas said “when you’re going and seeking funding, you want to have enough money and not be short.”

Oakboro, Lucas said, has already secured $2.5 million for the upgrades from North Carolina Department of Commerce Utility Development Fund and an additional $2.5 million from the Golden Leaf Foundation to cover the elevated tank. The remaining gap of around $3 million, once the town has a beneficiary, can be covered with federal grants “in a significant way,” Lucas said.

The county will provide $3.5 million for a natural gas line, which Lucas said will benefit the town as well, and taxes become 100 percent collectible. Anyone on the route, he said, may hook up to that line.

As he mentioned to the commissioners Monday, Lucas told the town council should Charlotte Pipe not meet the benchmarks of $325 million or 400 jobs created, the town and county are protected and would mean the company would not get the full benefit.

Stanly County Economic Development Commission Director Candice Lowder presented to the town council a resolution passed by the EDC in support of the project.

Attorney Charles Brown, representing Oakmont Acquisitions, a subsidiary of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry, spoke during the public meeting.

Brown said pending before the council are rezoning requests which are still staying in the name of Oakmont until a proper time when the council can rule on those requests. The plots of land, currently zoned residential, will have to be rezoned to a heavy industrial designation.

“This has the opportunity to bring unprecedented growth to Stanly County,” Brown said.

Roddy Dowd Jr., CEO of Charlotte Pipe, said his company was excited about the opportunity to build in Stanly.

“We’re going to provide a lot of jobs; we’re going to get cracking,” Dowd said.

N.C. Rep. Wayne Sasser said it was a great time for Stanly and Oakboro regarding the project.

“It’s a great time not just because we have the opportunity to bring big business, jobs and economic growth and that type to Oakboro and western Stanly, but the quality of the organization coming here,” Sasser said.

He added Charlotte Pipe has been in business for 100 years and will be in Oakboro 100 years as well.

Councilman Mike Efird made the motion for staff to move forward with the offer to Charlotte Pipe and Foundry. The motion was seconded and passed unanimously, with Little noting “of course there is no opposition.”

The town council also passed a resolution showing its support of Project Blue Sky, the Charlotte Pipe and Foundry factory potentially coming to Oakboro.

Following the meeting, Brown said people at all levels of government contributed to making this project a reality.

“No one has contributed more and has provided more to this project than Andy Lucas, Stanly County manager,” Brown said. “We all owe Andy our thanks, our appreciation for his outstanding work and his conspicuous leadership. For years to come, citizens of Stanly County will be the beneficiaries of all that Andy Lucas has done for us.”

Now, the project is waiting for approval from Gov. Roy Cooper of a resolution for tax breaks and other considerations, which may come early next week.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

email author More by Charles