County approves grant funding

Mar. 04, 2014 @ 08:36 AM

Rutherford County Commissioners approved expending $100,000 in local funds to match nearly $800,000 in grants for economic development opportunities.

During its March meeting Monday, commissioners approved six grants for various projects across the county including building re-use, industrial development and sanitary improvements.

All told, the county approved applying for $769,000 in grants with nearly $100,000 in county money used as match.

The residual effect is $18.5 million in announced committed investments from businesses and 156 new jobs created in the county.

“When you look at the enhancement of the tax base and the creation of new jobs in the county, it’s a great investment of county dollars to leverage the grant funding to continue to promote the county,” said Matt Blackwell, Rutherford County Economic Development Commission director.

What it means in simple terms is every $1 dollar of county money leveraged, Rutherford County will receive $7 in funding.

“All the new jobs will create tax revenues and, over time, we should make that back,” said Bill Eckler, Commission chairman.

Commissioners approved an industrial development grant to build a water line for a project, code named APPI, for which the county will match $50,000. Another set of grants were for building re-use for Trelleborg Coated Systems to located its headquarters in Rutherfordton.

The newest announcement which was the location of Team Air, Inc’s East Coast headquarters will generate an announced investment of $4.2 million in equipment and create 70 new jobs. The county approved an industrial development grant with a county match of $29,000.

The Town of Spindale will be the administrator of the grant meant to improve water and sewer lines to the former All American Homes building. The company plans to manufacture HVAC equipment at the facility.

A third project, code named COZY, required a building re-use grant with a county match of $1,970 form the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

With all the projects in the works, Rutherford County Manager Carl Classen said the EDC staff as “worked with a flurry since the start of the year.”

“I would say it’s an accurate statement,” Blackwell said. “Prospect activity is up which results in an increase in the ability to put Rutherford County’s name out there for potential investment.”

In other business, commissioners:

• tabled a measure changing the county’s animal code. The vote to table came at the conclusion of a public hearing;

• approved the appointments of Rodney Robbins, Eckler, Steve Burns, John Ridley and Bo Richard to the Board of Equalization and Review;

• approved the appointment of Eckler to the Isothermal Planning and Development Commission Board of Directors;

• approved the appointment of Adrienne Wallace as deputy clerk to the Board of Commissioners;

• accepted a report from Isothermal Planning and Development on the Ruth School re-use;

• accepted a report from county staff on the Biggerstaff Hanging Tree property;

• approved revisions to the county’s public comments policy to include amending the time for individual public comments from three to five minutes;

• approved budget amendments;

• denied a request for property exemption from Forest City Church of the Nazarene because the application was submitted after the county deadline;

• approved fee waivers for the Rutherford County Schools Education Foundation for the construction of a home. The fees waived included the building permit fee and landfill fees;

• approved setting a public hearing in April on proposed changes to the county’s fire service districts;

• approved contracts with area fire departments and Isothermal Community College to start construction on a fire training facility.