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Financial fertilizer

With all the talk about struggling small businesses and high unemployment rates, we applaud Washington City Council members Bobby Roberson, William Pitt, Richard Brooks and Ed Moultrie Jr. for their support of a proposal to bring investment dollars and jobs to the banks of the Pamlico River.

Backed by $195,500 in voluntary contributions from five small businesses, the City Council is submitting a proposal to land $240,000 in grant funds from the N.C. Department of Commerce’s Division of Community Investment and Assistance. With the support of local government, the grant program is intended to help fund small businesses that are ready to add employees to their payrolls, buy equipment and provide training for employees.

  • Tayloe Drug Co. (Hospital Pharmacy) is willing to invest $111,000 in its bid for a $50,000 grant to provide additional training for employees and hire two full-time employees — a pharmacist and a pharmacy assistant.
  • East Carolina Imports is hoping for a $25,000 grant to buy equipment and hire a full-time mechanic.
  • Park Boat Co. has ponied up $25,000 to combine with a $75,000 grant to buy equipment and hire three full-time employees — a mobile service technician, a parts/service salesperson and a yard equipment technician.
  • Pamlico Fence has offered $59,000 toward a $25,000 grant to hire a fence salesperson/estimator and a part-time employee.
  • FRE Plumbing would like to secure a $25,000 grant to hire a plumber.

“So, what this provides is for every job they wish to create, the Division of Community Investment (and Assistance) provides $25,000 for each new employee that they want to hire,” John Rodman, the city’s planning and development director, told the council during its meeting Monday. “That $25,000 can go to eligible activities, and that might be purchase of new property, renovations of buildings, that sort of thing. So it frees up some capital for them to be able to do that in order to hire new people. There is no match required from the city. There is no match required from the participating businesses.”

Businesses are required to keep new employees on the payroll for six months at 35 hours a week.

Our hope is that this investment in local small businesses will be the financial fertilizer that reduces the unemployment rate and helps the city grow.