Grant to help create jobs

Published 9:21 pm Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A $410,000 grant passing from the state though the City of Washington to Weir Valves and Controls USA is expected to help create 82 new jobs during the next 18 months.

The grant comes from the N.C. Rural Economic Development Center. It will be used to improve the building being used by Weir Valves and Controls, which is at 339 Old Bath Highway. The improvements will accommodate production of new high-pressure flow equipment for the oil and gas industry, according to the Rural Center.

Telephone messages left with the local Weir Valves and Controls facility received no replies.

The city provided a 5-percent ($20,500) contribution (match) for the project, which carries an overall cost of $999,977, according to the center.

“The company has a baseline employment of 66 in North Carolina. To meet the requirements of the grant, the company will have to keep those baseline jobs and create 82 new, full-time jobs within the next 18 months,” said Matt Ehlers, a Rural Center spokesman. “The new jobs also will need to be maintained for six consecutive months.

The new jobs are projected to provide an average annual salary of $40,965 (per employee), plus benefits. If the company does not meet the job requirement, it will have to pay back $5,000 for each position it failed to create.”

The grant is one of 53 grants totaling $8.6 million to create 894 jobs, provide clean water and assist with economic development in 31 rural counties, according to information from the Rural Center. The grants were made possible by appropriations from the N.C. General Assembly and revenue from the sales of state clean-water bonds.

The Rural Center is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop sound economic strategies that improve the quality of life in rural North Carolina, with a special focus on individuals with low to moderate incomes and communities with limited resources. The center operates a multifaceted program that includes conducting research into rural issues; testing promising rural development strategies; advocating for policy and program innovations; and building the productive capacity of rural leaders, entrepreneurs and community organizations.

The center’s building reuse and restoration grants program has the following criteria for occupied properties:

  • Circumstances: Eligible buildings include those used for manufacturing, warehousing, distribution, data processing and software development. The business must create new jobs as a result of the renovation.
  • Amount available: $5,000 per job up to a maximum $500,000 or one-half the renovation cost, whichever is less.
  • Who may apply: Local governments in a rural county or Tier 1 urban county
  • Match required: Yes.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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