ROCKINGHAM — The Richmond County Board of Commissioners will hold a public hearing on the closeout of a building reuse grant that supported Direct Pack’s expansion into the county and consider additional technological improvements for the new Emergency Services building at their first meeting of the year next Tuesday.
The public hearing will decide the whether the county will closeout of the Community Development Block Grant which provided $545,000 to renovate a vacant building that now hosts Direct Pack. The plant, which specializes in thermoformed packaging for agriculture, food service, supermarket chains and food processors, has added 38 full-time jobs to Richmond County since moving to the area in August 2016.
Of those jobs, 91 percent were of low or moderate income, according to Economic Developer Martie Butler. The company has planned to invest a total $12.75 million in the county and add 94 jobs over the next four years.
The board will later consider further supporting Direct Pack by applying for a Rural Building Reuse Grant from the North Carolina Rural Economic Development Division. If approved, the county will invest at least 5 percent of the grant amount toward the proposed Rural Building Reuse project, according to the board’s resolution.
Director of Emergency Services Donna Wright will ask the board to consider a $403,453 bid with Radio Communications Company for the purchase, installation and maintenance of new radio consoles which will be added to the new Emergency Services headquarters.
The new radios are an upgrade from what Emergency Services dispatchers are currently using. Wright said the current radios are at “end of life” and the manufacturer will soon stop producing spare parts for them. The upgrade will allow dispatchers to remotely access their console from a laptop should they ever require more portable consoles. Wright said this could be necessary in a search for a missing person.
If approved, the radios will be ready for operation by the time Emergency Services relocates to its new building in the Industrial Park in early April, according Wright.
Other items on the agenda are:
• a request to purchase a $3,500 parcel of land next to Old Cheraw Highway to erect a new water pump station;
• approval of a resolution to recognize Martin Luther King Jr. day on Jan. 15
The county has two big projects to look forward to in the new year. The long-awaited Enviva Biomass plant is scheduled to be completed in December 2018, and the county will begin considerations for renovating the old courthouse.
The board meeting will be held on Jan. 2 at 5:30 p.m. at 105 W. Franklin St., Courtroom C.
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or firstname.lastname@example.org.