Incentives approved for Vaughan-Bassett

First Posted: 10/19/2009

The Surry County Board of Commissioners approved industrial incentives of up to $50,000 for Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co. last night after little discussion.
The board held a public hearing on the proposed incentives at its regular meeting last night. Jan Critz, vice president of the Surry County Economic Development Partnership, came up to speak, as well as Fred Norman of the board of directors for Vaughan-Bassett.
Critz spoke for the EDP. We would like to express our support for the incentives for Vaughan-Bassett … Were very encouraged with the return of these jobs to the Elkin community, she said.
Norman, a resident of Elkin, said, Were tickled to death to get these 50 to 60 jobs back down here.
He added that Vaughan-Bassett was one of nine remaining companies in the United States who makes solid wood furniture.
The county voted to loan Vaughan-Bassett up to $50,000 for the reopening of the facility in Elkin. Broken down, the loan will amount to $1,000 for each job being created.
Chris Knopf, assistant county manager for economic development and tourism, said the county would in no way exceed the $50,000 mark. The loan funds must be used for expenses for the hiring and training of workers and the restart of the facility.
According to the agreement, Vaughan-Bassett will create up to 50 jobs by the end of the year. The county may forgive the portion of the loan for each job that remains by 2012.
The board voted unanimously to approve the incentives. Commissioner Craig Hunter was not present to vote during this portion of the meeting.
After the vote, Commissioner Jim Harrell Jr. said, We work 24 hours a day trying to recruit new business, but at the same time we try to pay close attention to our existing business … Were tickled to death for them to come back to Elkin.
The board also voted during the meeting for Surry County Schools to get bids for the proposed Pilot Mountain Elementary School conversion project. Ashley Hinson, superintendent of Surry County Schools, spoke to the board regarding the project.
The project will convert Pilot Mountain Middle School to an elementary school. This will involve updating the buildings to meet regulations and codes for elementary schools and improving the safety aspect of the school. The school systems goal is to have the school open for the 2010-2011 year.
Preliminary cost estimates for the project are $2.4 to $2.5 million for construction, but $3.5 to $3.6 million when including expenses such as new technology and furniture. The next step is to find funding for the project.
When the board approved its current school construction projects, it approved $2.5 million for a third project for Surry County Schools. This project will be the conversion school.
Betty Taylor, assistant county manager for budget and finance, said many things have happened over the past few months with finances.
I cant tell you exactly that were going to have the $2 1/2 million or $3 million to do this project, Taylor said.
She suggested going ahead and getting the architect to put together plans that can be used for bids. She said it may help if some of the financing was structured into next years budget.
Can we get (students) in by next fall? Hunter asked.
I believe its going to be close, but I believe we can do it. Its going to be tough, Taylor remarked.
Commissioner Paul Johnson said, We knew this project was coming, so we need to move ahead and let them get the bids so we can see where were at in a couple of months and move on.
The board did just this, voting for the school system to proceed with the architecture and bidding processes.
Other action taken during the meeting include:
The commissioners voted for the rezoning of property at West Pine Street and Lumber Plant Road from residential general to highway business so property owner Samuel Holder can open a car lot.
The board scheduled a public hearing for the Nov. 16 meeting regarding a zoning text amendment to allow temporary occupancy of campers or RVs at home construction sites.
The board authorized the county to receive stimulus funds for elderly nutrition services programs. Dottie Lyvers, Area Agency on Aging director, informed the board that the county can receive $20,580 from the government for congregate nutrition and $10,132 for home delivered meals. This requires a 10 percent match, which will be met by the Yadkin Valley Economic Development District Inc.
The board approved Honoring the Arts grants for the Surry Arts Council, East Surry Arts and Academic Team, and Foothills Arts Council.
After a closed session, the board recessed its meeting until tonight at 6 p.m. At that time the board will hold a public hearing on a second industrial incentive package. This project has been dubbed Project Protect and would involve the county purchasing a facility for $950,607.62 and leasing it to a company that proposes to create 200 permanent jobs in Mount Airy within two years.
This meeting of the Surry County Board of Commissioners is open to the public and will be held at the Surry County Government Center at 118 Hamby Road in Suite 329.
Contact Meghann Evans at [email protected] or 719-1952.

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