OAKBORO — The town of Oakboro’s hope of receiving at least $325 million in new taxable investment and at least 400 new jobs is no longer just a pipe dream or a rumor.
On May 18, the town council will consider a number of rezoning requests by Oakmont Acquisitions, a subsidiary of Charlotte Pipe and Foundry.
The council unanimously approved a resolution on May 5 that will grant tax break incentives to Charlotte Pipe to assist the company in its relocation to Oakboro, a plan that has been talked about for 12 years under the moniker “Project Blue Sky.”
“I’m happy to say that we can strike out Project Blue Sky and put Charlotte Pipe on there,” Mayor Joyce Little said in regard to how future resolutions will be addressed.
In order for a new facility to be built on the plots of land that are currently zoned as residential, the plots will have to be rezoned to a heavy industrial designation. The Stanly County Board of Commissioners has already approved similar rezoning requests by Oakmont.
“We’re really excited about this opportunity, and we’re going to have fun and we’re going to provide a lot of good jobs down here,” Roddey Dowd Jr., CEO of Charlotte Pipe, said at the meeting. “I thank you from all of our 1,550 associates for this opportunity.”
“This has the opportunity to bring unprecedented growth to Stanly County,” added Charles Brown, a representative for Oakmont Acquisitions.
Last week, county manager Andy Lucas presented to the Oakboro council the same information that he shared at the Stanly County Board of Commissioners special meeting on May 4, where the commissioners passed a resolution with a vote of 6-0.
In the format of a 20-year tax incentive agreement, Charlotte Pipe will pay the entirety of the taxes it owes annually and the county will issue a grant in the name of 80% paid, as long as the company meets the established benchmarks of $325 million or 400 jobs created.
The resolution also included incentives for the town, such as the construction of an elevated water tank, sewer connections and water lines. Lucas estimated that the total costs of the upgrades would be $8.1 million.
“I believe those numbers are probably conservative,” he told the Oakboro Town Council. “That’s a good thing because when you’re going and seeking funding, you want to have enough money and not be short.”
The North Carolina Department of Commerce Utility Development Fund and the Golden Leaf Foundation have each offered Oakboro $2.5 million to help with the cost of the upgrades.
Lucas mentioned that federal grants will likely be able to cover the remaining gap of around $3 million. Stanly County has offered to provide Oakboro with $3.5 million for a natural gas line, which will become a public utility and taxable investment for the town.
N.C. Rep. Wayne Sasser (R-Stanly) was a speaker during the public hearing portion of the town council meeting.
“It’s a great time not just because we have the opportunity to bring big business, jobs and economic growth and that type to Oakboro and western Stanly, but the quality of the organization that’s coming here,” Sasser said. “We’re dealing with a company that’s been in business in North Carolina for 100 years and they’re going to be a business here in Oakboro 100 years from now.”