County OKs incentives for deal to create 45 jobs

By: T.C. Hunter - Managing editor

LUMBERTON — The Robeson County Board of Commissioners approved on Monday an incentives deal for a company looking to expand.

County Economic Development Director Greg Cummings asked the commissioners to approve a three-year, 50 percent property tax break for the company at the end of presentation about Project Sweet Success. Cummings did not name the company, but hopes to announce the company’s name in two weeks.

The company plans to invest $1 million in the expansion, creating 45 jobs.

The county Economic Development Office has been working on the expansion deal for three months, Cummings said. It would be the company’s second expansion in Robeson County in six years.

The commissioners also approved two economic incentive deals for Campbell Soup. The deals call for the county to issue grants totally nearly $200,000 as incentives for the company to expand operations at its Maxton facility.

The deals were approved without comment as part of the meeting’s consent agenda.

The first incentives deal is dated Feb. 1, 2016, and calls for the county to give the company grants of $7,469 in 2016, $6,930 in 2017 and $6,391 in 2018 if the company makes a minimum investment of $2.1 million in new facilities and new equipment within 12 months of the agreement’s date.

The second incentives deal is dated Oct. 24, 2017, and calls for the county to give Campbell Soup grants of $63,490 in 2017, $57,969 in 2018 and $53,139 in 2019. The grants are payable if the company invests a minimum of $17,925,000 in new facilities and or new equipment within 12 months of the deal’s date.

Both deals call for Campbell Soup to keep the expansion projects in the county for three years, retain full-time employment for 12 months after the expansion is complete, pay its taxes, not practice hiring discrimination and abide by all environmental regulations.

The incentives deals were approved Monday to reflect the fact that Campbell Soup met the conditions, board Chairman Raymond Cummings said after the meeting ended.

The commissioners also accepted a $15,000 bid for a surplus county building on Shannon Road near N.C. 71.

Commissioner David Edge made the motion to accept the bid, with the condition that the money go into the General Fund.

The bid was submitted by Bible Holiness Church, according to Patrick Pait, county attorney.

The commissioners also approved five contracts for providing health services to Robeson County Detention Center inmates.

Dr. Herman Chavis, of Robeson Family Practice Associates in Red Springs, will be paid $78,000 a year to treat inmates; develop and review policies, procedures and protocols for medical management; instruct personnel when appropriate; perform other inmate treatment duties; and perform the duties of the Jail Health Services medical director.

Jamie Jones will perform the duties of nurse practitioner at the jail. Jones will be paid an unspecified amount by Chavis from the money the county is paying the doctor.

Dr. Tyler J. Collins, of Pembroke, is to be the primary provider of inmates’ dental care. Dr. Benjamin Collins, also of Pembroke, will the secondary care giver. The dentists will be paid $200 an hour for up to three hours a week, with a maximum salary of $34,800 a year.

Latoya Campbell, certified dental assistant, will assist in providing dental care to the inmates for $30 an hour for up to six hours a week.

Marilyn Merritt, a license clinical social worker, will provide mental health services to the inmates for $35 an hour for up to two hours a week, for a maximum of $3,640 for the period of the contract.

Each of the contracts is effective April 30 and expires May 1, 2019.

The commissioners were told by board Chairman Cummings that the Jack Pait Strawberry Farm World’s Shortest Parade will take place May 5. The parade’s listed time is 10:30 to 10:36 a.m.

Cummings showed a photograph of a past parade and joked that it showed some “dubious characters.” He then described the children riding a toy tractor and a bicycle.

“That’s pretty much the parade,” Patrick Pait said with a laugh. He is a member of the family that sponsors the parade.

“If you miss it you’re missing a fun day,” Commissioner Tom Taylor said.

Cummings reminded the commissioners that Sunday is Earth Day. In a related topic, the county Clean and Green Committee meets May 3 at the Red Springs community building, he said.

May 3 also is the Day of Prayer, Cummings said.

“There’s a lot to pray about for our county, the state and the nation,” Cummings said.

In other business, the commissioners;

— Reappointed Audrey Hunt to the Robeson Community College board of trustees.

— Approved the transfer of $51,000 within the 911 Communications budget to cover contracted services from Dec. 9, 2017.

— Approved transferring $118,500 from Insurance Contributions in the county jail’s budget to Utilities to pay for utilities bills for the remainder of the current fiscal year.

— Approved the transfer of $5,000 within the county Emergency Management Services budget to pay for the reprogramming of the EMS radio system to make it compatible with county Communications.

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T.C. Hunter

Managing editor

Reach T.C. Hunter by calling 910-816-1974 or via email at tchunter@robesonian.com.

Reach T.C. Hunter by calling 910-816-1974 or via email at tchunter@robesonian.com.