Project Denver dangles $6.4 million investment

Resident JT Hinson is seen addressing the Surrey County Commission via the county’s video feed. Mr. Hinson questioned the secret behind his $36,244 incentive package being offered to Project Cobra over his five years, which the committee unanimously approved.

There are charming presents under the Christmas tree, and new packages are quietly placed under the tree in Surrey County. Project Denver is wrapped in clean paper and ribbon with a “No Peeping” label for county residents. Combined with Project Cobra, which coils itself up and under a thick veil of secrecy, so to speak, it could be a lovely pair.

What is known is that a company has expressed an interest in Surrey County and the Commission plans to hold a hearing on the matter early in the New Year. It will be the first opportunity to discuss the project and give residents an opportunity to voice their opinions on whether the county should participate in the incentive package. opinion. The county did not disclose the name of the company, the type of work it would do, or the type of incentives it would seek.

The county celebrates New Year’s Day on Monday, January 2nd. This means that the county commissioner will meet that evening, and the hearing on Project Denver will be moved to Tuesday, January 3, a day after his.

A county statement said: The funding source for improvements is the county’s General Fund Reserve. The public benefits of making such improvements include expanding Surrey’s tax base, creating new jobs in the county, and improving the general employment prospects in Surrey County. County officials have not disclosed what the “improvements” are or how much of the county’s General Fund reserve will be used.

“The hearing shall be used as a forum to hear public comment on the proposed project and to assess the value of the project to the County of Surrey and its citizens,” the statement concludes.

The amount or proposed use of the incentive package is unknown at this time. With the recent resignation of Todd Tucker, leader of the Surrey Economic Development Partnership, his responsibilities have been temporarily transferred to Elkin’s Creative Economic Development Consulting LLC. Creative EDC’s Crystal Morphis said Friday it’s their policy not to comment on ongoing negotiations, although he suggested the town of Elkin hold a public hearing on the Denver project on Jan. 9. , which suggests that the town is considering its own incentives.

Elkin Town Manager Brent Cornelison confirmed that the January 9th meeting will discuss incentives for Project Denver.

A notice from the county that the hearing was approaching was posted on the county’s website at some point after the commission’s final meeting on December 5. Their agenda did not have a list of incentive packages to be submitted to the committee.

Surrey County Commissioner Mark Marion said he could not disclose anything about future Project Denver. He said, “I wish I could give some insight, but we’re not in a loop on these two.

Marion had previously expressed interest in the potential of Project Cobra and its potential to expand the footprint and headcount of existing Surrey County employers. The Commissioner unanimously passed his incentive package of $36,244, with performance-based incentives distributed over a five-year period. The city of Mount Airy did as well, and over five years he approved a $36,341 plan.

The public has yet to be told the identity of the company at the heart of the project, nor the timeline for any decisions. “

Project Cobra is reportedly likely to consolidate the company’s warehousing and distribution operations, which are already worth more than $1.96 million in investments in Surrey County. They are also considering sites they currently operate in Alabama and South Carolina. If selected, it could bring 35 new jobs to the area. Conversely, if you have to move, 63 jobs are taken away.

There was only one direct speaker at the Project Cobra hearing. Resident J.T. Henson expressed frustration that the hearing was called and comments were sought from the public. He wondered who could attend the hearing or speak to authorities if the public had never heard of it. The masses feel in darkness, and in that darkness rot can form like mold.

Some wonder if incentive packages are the best way to bring new business to town or help grow your business. Mitch Kokai, a political analyst for the conservative John Locke Foundation in North Carolina, spoke about incentives earlier this month, using language that has been used in debates and forums before a Surrey County commission. Economic winners and losers.

he wrote: If these companies actually need taxpayer help to survive, targeted incentives are unwise. If businesses choose only North Carolina for incentives, it doesn’t bode well for the state when incentives are gone and businesses start re-evaluating their options. ”

He goes on to suggest that targeting sweeping change that favors the business is better than incentives alone. ,” he said.

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