Warren County commissioners studying incentives policy
WARRENTON — A policy for incentives has been moved through a work session and is expected to be on the next agenda of the Warren County commissioners.
The proposed economic incentives policy was reviewed by the commission, along with reports on several programs operating in the county during the work session.
Gabe Cumming, a consultant to the Economic Development Commission, said the purpose of the policy is to give the county another tool to attract new businesses to the county and to encourage existing businesses to expand. If adopted, the policy would provide a means of offering incentives to businesses based on their performance on 12 criteria, such as the number of jobs created, wage level of new jobs, emphasis on hiring local residents, concern for the environment and patronizing woman-owned and minority-owned businesses.
Their performance would determine an incentive payment as some percentage of the company’s tax payment.
“I don’t see where it enhances our opportunity to get people to come to Warren County,” said commissioner Barry Richardson.
Commissioner Ulysses S. Ross said he didn’t see how it would hurt the county and might help.
Asked by Richardson about funding, Cumming pointed out an incentive payment would be made only after the business had paid its property taxes, so the county would not have to advance any money up front.
Commissioner Jennifer Jordan asked if the policy would identify the county’s weaknesses. Cumming said the policy wouldn’t correct weaknesses, but “it signals that we are a business-friendly community.”
Commissioner Ruby Downey, a member of the EDC, asked that the policy be put on the agenda for the commissioners’ November meeting.
John Anzivino, senior vice president for Springsted, reported on a job classification and salary study the company carried out for the county. He said 64 percent of county employees are below minimum salary.
“To be competitive in the job market, that has to be raised,” he said.
He provided three options for addressing issues raised in the study.
Commissioners expressed frustration the county lacks resources to compensate employees as they would like.
The board heard reports on the impact of the government shutdown on county governmental operations. The reports were made before the resolution to the crisis was announced late Wednesday night.
Michelle Winstead, the director of Social Services, said the department could maintain programs through October. After that, it would take more than $110,000 per month to maintain services. Some county DSS offices are starting to furlough staff, she said.
Senior Center Director Alicia Giddiens said 80 percent of her funding comes through grants, the majority of which are federally funded. It takes an average of $26,299 per month to operate the center, she said.
The commissioners discussed whether money would be taken from the county’s fund balance to meet that expense or employees would be furloughed, if the shutdown continued.
Youth Services Bureau Director Debbie Scott presented outcomes for the unit’s after-school program, mentoring program and teen court.
Sara Rudolph, the CEO of Franklin-Vance-Warren Opportunity, reported on services provided in Warren County, the number of participants and the economic impact. As an example, she said Head Start served 364 children over a four-year period with an economic impact exceeding $2.5 million. Other programs serving the county include Training Assistance Partnership, Women’s Economic Equity, the Family Resource Center, a Community Services Block Grant, weatherization, mortgage foreclosure prevention and several others.
Robert Hines reported on his efforts to improved the performance of the county’s information technology.
Marvin Heavens, an Afton resident, asked if the board could do something about the noise of low-flying jet planes from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base. Richardson suggested he contact U.S. senators Kay Hagan and Richard Burr.
Contact the writer at firstname.lastname@example.org.