Similar to a big holiday meal, Mount Airy’s commissioners will have a lot on their plates during a meeting Thursday night.
Discussion and votes on a proposed industrial incentives package that could mean 45 new jobs, an agreement to sell water to Carroll County, Va., and the seeking of retirement community status for the city are scheduled for the 7 p.m. session.
Also, the board of commissioners will take action regarding a commitment to the North Carolina Main Street Program, among other agenda items.
Hearing On “Project Viking”
Thursday’s meeting will feature a public hearing on the incentives package which relates to a textile company known only by the code name “Project Viking.” It is considering establishing a manufacturing operation in the former Harvest Time Bread Co. location in Piedmont Triad West Corporate Park.
The unnamed manufacturer, which supplies products to the aerospace, automotive and hospitality industries, would create 45 jobs from 2013-2017 while making an investment in the project of more than $7 million over five years, under the agreement.
Meanwhile, the local government incentive offer includes about $107,105 to be paid over an eight-year period, plus the conveyance by both the city and Surry County of some 14.8 acres of real property valued at $226,383.
With a building re-use and restoration grant of $8,700 from the North Carolina Rural Center added, the total city incentive package is $342,188. The incentives are based on the property tax revenues Mount Airy anticipates from the company.
Officials believe the package represents a worthwhile investment for a project that would bring direct and indirect benefits. In addition to jobs, these include diversifying the local economy and providing a stimulus to existing businesses.
Water Sales To Carroll
After nearly two years of discussion, Mount Airy officials are poised to act on an agreement to sell surplus water to Carroll County, Va.
The deal is targeting an area near Exit 1 of Interstate 77 at Lambsburg, which would allow both businesses and homes in that vicinity to tap into a public water system.
It calls for up to 100,000 gallons of city water per day to eventually be sold to the neighboring locality. Carroll County would pay double the rates charged for in-town customers.
The Carroll County Public Service Authority is to connect to the municipal system at a city in-ground storage tank on Surratt Drive.
City Manager Barbara Jones believes the pact will benefit Mount Airy and Carroll County, where public water is needed. “We are excited to finalize this agreement.”
Mount Airy previously extended its service to an area just north of the Virginia Welcome Center on I-77 through a project jointly funded by the departments of transportation in the two states.
Retirement Community Status
Also Thursday night, a decision is expected regarding a proposal that has been under consideration since June. It involves Mount Airy applying for official status as a retirement community.
Commissioner Scott Graham, who also has headed a special committee exploring the feasibility of seeking this designation, said Monday the committee will unanimously recommend that the city move forward with the plan.
It will involve paying a $10,000 application fee to the N.C. Department of Commerce aimed at Mount Airy being promoted as a certified retirement community.
Such a community must have an infrastructure to support that segment, such as adequate medical facilities. It benefits from special promotions aimed at drawing retirees to the locality.
However, Graham said Monday that he believes the same marketing strategies could wind up attracting new industries as well as the targeted age group — which is highly sought after due to the higher disposal incomes it reflects.
“It would open up avenues to make people more aware of the city of Mount Airy,” Graham added of the general concept involved.
In discussing the $10,000 in taxpayer funds required to apply, Graham said if two couples moved here as a result of the retirement community designation, “really you’ve got your 10 grand back.”
That would include property taxes in addition to other money spent here by those individuals, he said.
Critics of the plan say Mount Airy should market itself as a good place for everyone to live, not only retirees, but young families.
Main Street Program
In another matter, the city commissioners will vote on a proposal for Mount Airy to be designated as a North Carolina Main Street community.
While the municipality already has an award-winning downtown, a resolution the board will consider Thursday night notes that joining the state Main Street Program would help ensure the “ongoing vitality” of the central business district.
Approval of the resolution will require an “investment grant” of $45,000 in city funds to a separate entity known as Downtown Mount Airy Inc. (DMI), which oversees infrastructure and other improvements in the area. The money would help fund the salary of a downtown manager and program activities for three years.
The Main Street Program of the N.C. Department of Commerce assists selected communities across the state in making downtown areas more economically viable while also preserving their historic character.
Mount Airy’s entry would enable it to receive technical and organizational assistance in improving the appearance of its downtown section, both buildings and streetscapes; establishing a common image for the area; and promoting it effectively to the outside world.
Ted Ashby, a DMI official, has said that while the downtown district has many positive attributes, it could do a better job of “branding” itself. A long-range vision also needs to be identified, Ashby has said.
Other Agenda Items
Additional business Thursday night will include:
• Special recognition of Snappy Lunch, a longtime city business;
• A public forum during which citizens may speak on any municipal government topic;
• The consideration of member appointments to the local airport authority, the Mount Airy Parks and Recreation Commission and the newly created Downtown Traffic and Safety Committee.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.