DOBSON — The Surry County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved an incentive package last night for an as-yet-unnamed company seeking to locate in the area.
The action came as the board met for its regularly scheduled meeting at the Surry County Government Center in Dobson.
Identifying the proposed industry, County Manager Chris Knopf noted that proposed incentive package dictates that the county will invest up to $543,448 in the company over the next eight year period.
According to Surry County Economic Development Partnership Director Todd Tucker, the business will be “a manufacturing business” described as an out-of-state manufacturer with several operations throughout the country.
Knopf noted that the company is planning a large investment in the county that includes purchasing a building that has been vacant since 2008.
“The agreement, in final form… must provide a) that the total amount to be expended by the county be an incentive grant over eight years of not more than $543,448 and b) that (the) company’s minimum investment of $21.5 million be made by Jan. 1, 2016, with the creation of 140 full-time or full time equivalent jobs created by Dec. 31, 2017,” Knopf told the board.
Following his presentation, Mount Airy Mayor Deborah Cochran and all the city’s commissioners addressed the county board, urging them to give the nod to the incentive package.
Saying she was there to voice “strong support” for the plan, Cochran said approving the incentive package is the right thing to do.
“The most important issue we face today is we need jobs,” she said. “Government on every level needs to be focused on what people want — jobs.
“Every governing body would be thankful to have this topic on its agenda,” added the mayor.
Cochran suggested that while the company hasn’t been identified, it is a name recognizable to many county residents.
“This company has solid growth and prosperity,” she said. “Their products are sold in hundreds of retail stores including several in our area.”
She ended her address urging approval of the proposal.
“We have seen legacy industries move offshore,” Cochran added. “That, combined with the prolonged recession, has resulted in the loss of paychecks, homes and self-esteem.
“This project is a symbol of progress and will help restore hope in our area.”
Betty Ann Collins of the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce, put it more succinctly when she took her turn at the podium urging the commissioners to pass the incentive package.
“There are 3,207 of your neighbors out of work,” she said. “And there are 140 people who are going to vote tomorrow, so let’s hope you vote right tonight.”
The incentive package was unanimously approved on a motion by Commissioner Larry Phillips and with a second by Commissioner Paul Johnson.
Reach Keith Strange at email@example.com or 719-1929.