LEE COUNTY: Commissioners will consider zero interest loan for business

Jan. 05, 2014 @ 05:01 AM

Lee County Commissioners will consider a $150,000 zero interest loan to locate a business within the county after a public hearing Monday.

The Lee County Board of Commissioners will meet at 6 p.m. at the Lee County Government Center, located at 106 Hillcrest Drive, and according to the its agenda, the New Jersey-based company Fitspak would create a $4 million investment in machinery and equipment and 50 jobs if it expanded within the county.

"Lee County proposes to participate in the cost of an economic development project which consists of a $150,000 zero interest loan for building renovation and infrastructure improvements for Fitzpak, a thermo-forming plastic packaging company looking to expand In Lee County," according to the notice for the public hearing.

The loan agreement was not included in the agenda and will be provided to commissioners before the meeting. However, Lee County Manager John Crumpton said the loan would be paid back over five years after the company's construction phase.

"In the past, what the county has done with grants has been cash grants, whether an advancement for infrastructure or payout over time," he said. "This is the first loan."

The commissioners approved an economic incentives guidelines this summer which stated a new business must create a minimum of 25 jobs and create $20 million in new investments, among other items. This doesn't apply to the loan, Crumpton said, because the guidelines were for cash grants.

"The commissioners will look at other ways to bring business here," he said. "And this is a way to improve a building and increase the tax base, and get paid back."

The City of Sanford will also host a public hearing concerning a $39,528 economic development grant for Fitzpak at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Sanford Municipal Center, located at 225 E. Weatherspoon St. In its agenda, it states the average hourly wage would be $13.10, and the company would be located at 298 Harvey Faulk Road.

Other agenda items include:

* Considering text amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance, per state law, regarding the Board of Adjustment and regulations concerning wireless telecommunications towers.

* A request to rezone a 2-acre lot, located between 5636 and 5740 N.C. Highway 87, from residential restricted to residential agricultural.

* Recognizing the new graduates of the Lee County Sheriff's Citizen Patrol. The program consists of citizens who complete a course and then provide the sheriff's office assistance. The graduates are Henry Judd, William Poe, Craig Williams, Michael Taylor and William Morris.

* The purchase of a Telex System to be used by the Lee County Sheriff's Office at Deep River and Greenwood elementary schools. This system, according to the agenda, will allow hand-held radio signals to be broadcast back to the sheriff's office. The Lee County Sheriff's Office intends to use drug forfeiture funds of $8,120 to pay for the system.

* Approve a fee of $22 for tuberculosis assessment and screening after the state recommended individuals working in licensed child care programs, public school teachers and health care employees be screened for active TB.

* Consider accepting additional state family planning funds, totaling nearly $7,000, which would be sent to the Coalition for Families of Lee County.