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Cumberland County commissioners approve $510,000 in business incentives

Package intended to lure national home construction company to Fayetteville


The Cumberland County Board of Commissioners agreed Monday night to approve a $510,000 incentives package for a national home construction company that says it plans to build a manufacturing plant in Fayetteville.

The move follows the Fayetteville City Council’s approval last week of a $317,000 incentives package for the same company.

Robert Van Geons, CEO and president of the Fayetteville-Cumberland Economic Development Corp., said the industry recruitment effort is code-named “Project Dogwood.” He said the proposed site for the 130,000-square-foot manufacturing plant is on Dunn Road, on vacant property across from the former MJ Soffe garment and apparel factory.

Van Geons said developing that site may cause a ripple effect and open the area to other industrial investments.

The county’s incentives will be paid over five years.

“To receive the incentives, they must produce jobs,” Van Geons said. “We don’t front anything in these agreements.”

The company would pay taxes and adhere to agreements that include creating 189 jobs by 2027, he said. The average annual wage would be $45,079, and the annual payroll would exceed $8.5 million. The unnamed manufacturer also would be required to invest $25 million in real-estate improvements.

Van Geons estimated the company will pay $210,000 in county taxes annually and $134,000 in city taxes.

No one spoke for or against the project during a public hearing held just before the board took action.

Commissioner Charles Evans made the motion to approve the incentives, and it was seconded by board Vice Chairwoman Toni Stewart. The vote was unanimous with Evans, Stewart, Jeannette Council, and Chairman Glenn Adams voting in favor of the project. Commissioners Larry Lancaster, Michael Boose and Jimmy Keefe were not present.

In other action:

The commissioners voted to incorporate the town of Spring Lake into the county’s recreation district. The town, which has its own recreation department, asked to be included.

Only one person spoke during a public hearing before the vote. Former Spring Lake Alderwoman Fredricka Sutherland asked the board to ensure Spring Lake would “have a seat at the table and a voice” on recreation issues. She expressed concern that low-income youths would not have easy access to recreation programs because fees have not been discussed.

 Adams assured Sutherland that “at the end of the day,” Spring Lake residents would have more recreation programs and services without added taxes.

Also, the commissioners voted to use a portion of the county’s American Rescue Plan funds to pay incentives to help retain county employees.

The fiscal 2023 budget includes a 4% pay raise for county employees, but an 8.5% inflation rate has made it difficult to retain employees, according to Brian Haney, assistant county manager and interim human resources director.

Haney told the commissioners that private-sector employers and other government agencies with higher wage plans are constantly recruiting employees away from the county.

The county management staff recommended giving each employee $4,000 in incentives in fiscal 2023, which starts on July 1. Qualified employees would get $1,500 in the July 22 payroll, another $1,000 in December, and a final $1,500 in July 2023. Part-time employees would get a pro-rated share, Haney said.

Haney estimates the maximum cost would total roughly $8.176 million and includes retirement.

The county manager, county attorney and board clerk are not eligible for the incentive payments.

 Stewart made a motion to approve the use of ARP funds for the first incentive in the July 22 payroll. The vote was unanimous.

Jason Brady covers Cumberland County government for CityView TODAY. He can be reached at jbrady@cityviewnc.com.

Cumberland County, Fayetteville, business, jobs