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County OKs incentives that could bring more jobs to local industries

SARAH LOWERY
Staff Writer

The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved incentives for three local companies planning facility upgrades during its meeting Monday night.
One of the industries, RSI Home Products, located in the Lincoln County Industrial Park, is looking to consolidate operations and upgrade its plant with new equipment and machinery, said Kara Brown, existing business manager for the Lincoln Economic Development Association, when presenting the grant agreement.
The California-based company would invest roughly $8 million and create at least 25 new jobs within two years.
Another Lincoln County Industrial Park manufacturer, Lucky Country, a producer of soft gourmet licorice, also received approval for an incentive agreement to install a new line of equipment. The planned renovations would result in a $3 million investment and at least two new jobs within two years.
CEO Billy Henry recently told the Times-News that the company is facing increased demand and expects next year to be its biggest yet.
An additional industry that received approval for an incentive grant, Hof Textiles of Lincolnton, will only go through with its proposed $7.2 million investment and creation of at least five jobs should projected business — which it is currently in the process of competing for — come through, Brown noted, stressing that it was not making an official announcement.
Also at Monday’s meeting, commissioners unanimously approved, as recommended by the Planning Board, a request for an existing house to be used as an office at 6608 Campground Road, a request to permit vehicle and boat service and sales at 3840 N. N.C. 16 and a request to permit building-material sales on the north side of N.C. 16 Business, between its intersections with Denver Industrial Park Road, all in Catawba Springs Township.

In other board action at Monday’s meeting:
Commissioners unanimously approved change orders for a water-line project at N.C. 16 and N.C. 73, as presented by Public Works Director Don Chamblee.
Commissioners were presented with the county’s audit report from Chris Costner of Martin Starnes & Associates, who noted that the county’s revenues were up about 1 percent from the last fiscal year, while expenditures had decreased by 3 percent.
Chairman Alex Patton recognized Commissioner George Arena, whose last meeting as commissioner was Monday night, for his service on the board and on regional committees, as well. Arena, who opted not to run for re-election, joked that he had “enjoyed the majority of it.” Commissioner-elect Cecelia Martin will be sworn in at the next meeting, as will newly re-elected commissioners Patton and Carrol Mitchem.
County Manager George Wood announced that the Lincoln County Public Library had been awarded the “Renovation of the Year” by the state for its upgrades to the Jonas Library in Lincolnton, completed earlier this year. Library Director Jennifer Sackett will accept the award at a reception in December.

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