ROCKINGHAM — Richmond County Commissioner Thad Ussery said he was recently approached and asked when more jobs were coming to the area.
Although there may not seem to be many open, there are more on the way.
A total of 332 new jobs have been announced this year, County Economic Developer Martie Butler told commissioners at their monthly board meeting Tuesday.
Butler added that Richmond Community College has held several job fairs for local industries — including RSI Home Products, which will hold a ribbon cutting Friday — and that there will be more for Direct Pack, which she said plans to start hiring within the next three months.
When Commissioner Ben Moss asked about the status of Enviva, which announced two years ago that it would be bringing 80 jobs to a wood pellet plant it plans to build in Richmond County, County Manager Rick Sago said plans are still on to open early next year — adding that the process is “moving forward,” but slower than anticipated.
“We still have interest…in companies moving to Richmond County, so that’s promising,” Butler said, adding that the county has had two recent client visits and that the companies are requesting information about the local workforce.
The county was recently designated as a Certified Work Ready Community by NCWorks, signifying a strong partnership between Richmond County Schools, RCC and local industry.
“This is a great designation for our county,” she said, adding that it shows everyone is “working on the same page.”
Toward the end of the meeting, there was some back-patting about the vision of the board of commissioners in preparing the county for the recent surge in job growth — which includes the creation of the industrial park, which is now home to RSI — and creating an environment conducive to economic development.
During the meeting, commissioners voted to:
• approve a contract with MGT of America Consulting LLC for preparation of the county’s annual cost allocation plan through 2018, at an annual rate of $4,750;
• approve an agreement with Duke Energy Progress, providing an easement area for county’s the raw water intake and withdrawal of up to 28 million gallons per day from the lake;
• approve a proclamation to honor the veterans of Richmond County and call attention to the Nov. 11 ceremonies in recognition of Veterans Day;
• approve a resolution to require the pre-qualification of contractors; and
• approve the acceptance of the Edward Byrne Memorial Assistance Grant ($12,818) from the U.S. Department of Justice to the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.
Commissioners also received a presentation of the FirstHealth EMS annual report from EMS Director Buddy Williams. He said the service has responded to more than 7,000 calls and logged 221,316 miles — at an average response time of 8 minutes and 18 seconds — with the most frequent calls being related to cardiac issues, vehicle wrecks and traumatic injuries.
Reach William R. Toler at 910-817-2675 and follow him on Twitter @William_r_Toler.