BEAUFORT — County commissioners unanimously approved a $50,000 economic development incentive to try and secure the expansion of local boat manufacturer Parker Boats.   

County commissioners approved the incentive following a public hearing at their Monday evening regular session at the administrative building on Court House Square.

No county resident commented during the public hearing. County staff had not released information on which company was up for an incentive package, nor how much money the package totaled, prior to the advertised hearing.

The county’s contribution is a fraction of the proposed expansion’s projected cost, according to officials.

“The proposed capital investment is $1.715 million,” said County Economic Development Director Don Kirkman, who added the company is seeking incentives, not only from local sources, but from the state as well.

“This will be an important factor in their ultimate site location decision,” Mr. Kirkman said.

Parker Boats in Beaufort has a sister location in Sweetwater, Tenn., called Bryant Boats. Only one of the two locations will be home to the future expansion.

“(Local and state funding incentives) is one of the factors that the company will evaluate in the location decision,” Mr. Kirkman said. “They go to the heart of trying influence the company to expand here, rather than in Tennessee.”

Mr. Kirkman said the state has partnered on the incentive.

“The State of North Carolina, through the North Carolina Department of Commerce, had conditionally offered a $100,000 One North Carolina Fund Grant to partially reimburse the company’s capital investment,” he said.

Carteret County’s contribution will cover the One North Carolina Fund 50% match requirement. The grant, combined with the county’s match, will total a $150,000 incentive package if company executives choose to expand the facility in Beaufort.

The local match will come from one of the county’s economic development reserve funds, according to Mr. Kirkman.

The One North Carolina Fund is a state job-creation initiative. It provides grants to companies as incentives to expand in or relocate to North Carolina.

“The expansion is projected to create 38 new jobs over the next two years,” Mr. Kirkman said.

Parker Boats is one of several boat manufacturers in Carteret County. According to Mr. Kirkman, the company currently has more than 100 full-time employees.

“The company occupies a large manufacturing facility…at the intersection of N.C. 101 and Laurel Road,” Mr. Kirkman said. “If the proposed expansion occurs in Carteret County, it will provide new manufacturing employment, help ensure the continued growth of the company and will provide additional property tax and other tax revenues to Carteret County and municipal governments.”

Linwood Parker, the founder of Parker Boats, spoke to county commissioners about the proposed expansion.

“Carteret County is not a bad place to be,” Mr. Parker said. “In spite of our shortcomings…I’m glad I stayed in this area.”

Mr. Parker praised county officials, saying they have always supported the Beaufort location.

County Commissioner Ed Wheatly and others said they hope the incentive will be enough to convince company executives to go with the North Carolina expansion.

“I think it’s a win-win for Carteret County,” Mr. Wheatly said. “I don’t see how anybody anywhere in Carteret County can (have an unfavorable opinion) toward this.”

Contact Dean-Paul Stephens at 252-726-7081, ext. 201; email Dean@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @DeanPEStephens.

(9) comments

David Collins

Why would you give away money to an already successful business? Yeah, I read the article. All of it. Sounds a bit misguided to me. How about attracting NEW businesses with that money? Of course they need to be vetted and reimbursed based on PERFORMANCE, not promises. Just a thought.

CARTERETISCORRUPT

This is abuse of my tax dollars. I never agreed to pay my money to support any private business; I do that by patronizing them should I choose to do so. This should never be a use for tax dollars. Has Carteret County lost it's mind? It seems that certainly is the case. Why not put such an issue on the ballot for all to vote. Then those who paid the taxes could designate a worthy cause, if any.

CARTERETISCORRUPT

As far as Mr. Eddie Bo Wheatly is concerned; Most any taxpayer in Carteret County would oppose this use of their tax dollars. If Wheatly wants to spend HIS money to subsidize Parker, that is his right; it is not his right or duty to spend MY tax dollars on this boondoggle.

rooster

Come on guys. This has nothing to do with giving an already successful business our taxpayer's money like it is a bonus for them to stick in the bank and add to their existing profits. As the article clearly states, this is intended to be an incentive for expansion of the business here in Carteret County versus elsewhere. Doing so would create more job opportunities and the resulting increased tax revenue. It is not that hard to understand nor bad business. There is also the fact that most (if not all) of the new jobs at a facility like Parker are not unskilled minimum wage or seasonal type jobs. Typically, these are technically skilled jobs and they pay well. There is nothing wrong with adding that to an already successfully proven business. Tax based incentives to attract and retain businesses is not a new approach nor exclusive to Carteret County. Many times, it represents good investments of tax dollars. Then there is the idea of using this money to attract new businesses in lieu of expanding those already established and performing well. My question would be Why? 38 new jobs are 38 new jobs wherever they are located and that is the main point of this. It seems that some may have an ax to grind or jealous of the success of someone like Linwood Parker. I too am a fiscal conservative that is against shelling out tax dollars with no chance for positive return on that investment. But this just does not seem to be a “free cheese” welfare kind of thing. I would support this if only for the addition of new jobs and not that I have any special affinity for Parker. In fact I’m not that crazy about Parker Boats- but local folks get paid well to build them!

Core Sounder

heck of a lot better deal for taxpayers than having to support 30 to 40 families that might end up on welfare. This County needs all of the better paying jobs it can get and especially jobs that actually produce something that is needed.

rooster

Core Sounder- Well stated and absolutely on point. In two sentences too- not as long winded rooster!

DeadBolt

Parker Boats is NOT LOCATED IN Beaufort. As far as incentives, quite possibly the county could remove all the REGULATIONS , that are self imposed on the county, and get out of the way? Also, they may see fit to legally fight the regulations imposed by outside forces, loosening even further FREE MARKET! Or.... maybe its just me? [wink]

rooster

Agree Deadbolt - no it's not just you. Carteret County is choking business expansion and possible new business ventures with regulation after regulation. And again you are absolutely correct that Parker Boats is NOT LOCATED IN Beaufort. Somehow or for some reason there are those whom would have you believe that everything that exists east of the Newport River Bridge on hwy 70 or south of the county line on hwy 101 is in Beaufort (Especially articles in this newspaper). Parker Boats just as is Jarrett Bay, Carolina Yachts and others in that area are not in Beaufort nor are they even close to Beaufort. Core Creek would be more accurate. Same thing when they refer to East Carteret High School which also is not in Beaufort- it's in North River. Right in front of the school entrance there are two state signs. The first reads "ECHS next right" the second about 30 feet past that one reads "Beaufort 5 miles". Being 5 miles away is NOT place ECHS in Beaufort any more than Croatan High School is in Newport but they don't say that! Mailing addresses don't trump physical geography. In reality the only things in Beaufort are the things in Beaufort- that's it. Good grief- Morehead City is a lot closer to Beaufort than Parker Boats or East Carteret!

Osprey

What regulations does the County have in place restricting business development & growth ?

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