Archived Story

Board OKs development agreements

Published 1:51am Thursday, March 14, 2013

Project Blue Goose is a step closer to bringing a new industry to Beaufort County and expanding an existing industry in the county.
During its meeting Monday, the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners approved a loan agreement, grant agreement and a buy-sell agreement related to Project Blue Goose. The project is composed of two entities: Pronamics Industries and Oak Ridge Metal Works. Pronamics Industries will be setting up operations in the Quick Start II building at the Beaufort County Industrial Park. That building is known as the Blue Goose because of its exterior paint scheme. Oak Ridge Metal Works is expanding into the former Brooks Boatworks building at the industrial park.
The board unanimously OK’d two agreements related to the (up to) $750,000 Community Development Block Grant that Pronamics Industries is seeking to help it move into the Quick Start II building. The buy-sell agreement for 5.78 acres was approved with a 6-1 vote, with Commissioner Ed Booth voting against it.
Bob Heuts, the county’s economic developer, reviewed the agreements with the commissioners. During that review, Booth, as he did at a meeting last month, raised concerns about the county possibly having to pay back some or all of the grant funds. Heuts said the agreements have built-in guarantees to prevent the county from having to pay back any grant funds should Project Blue Goose not meet specific conditions related to job creation.
On Feb. 25, the board approved the county sharing up to $103,013 of the project cost. That same day, the Washington City Council approved the city sharing up to $97,183 of the project cost, estimated at $9.4 million.
The incentives come in the form of a 50-percent rebate that Oak Ridge Metal Works and Pronamic Industries would pay in real-estate and machinery taxes during a five-year period.
The county’s contribution contributions are contingent upon Project Blue Goose generating $206,026 in new revenue to the county during the five-year period and generating $194,3667 in new revenue for the city in that same five years.
The rebates would come only after verification that Oak Ridge Metal Works and Pronamic Industries have met the conditions of their agreements with the local governments, according to Heuts.
The county and city are co-owners of the industrial park.
Oak Ridge Metal Works wants to create up to 35 new jobs during the five-year period. Pronamics Industries wants to create up to 65 new jobs during those five years.
Under the agreements, 54 jobs are to be created, 38 by Pronamics Industries and 17 by Oak Ridge Metal Works, Heuts explained.

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