More incentives for Sarstedt

A Germany-based medical supply manufacturing company has 113,955 more reasons to continue operating its business in Newton.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners approved an economic incentive package for Sarstedt Inc., which makes science and medical instruments at a facility on St. James Church Road in Newton.

The recently approved county incentives come in addition to incentives from the city of Newton in the anticipation that the company will create a new county investment of $14.2 million, as well as 20 new jobs.

"We're in a global economic environment," said Nathan Huret, Catawba County Economic Development Corporation's existing industry coordinator.

"Sometimes that's to our benefit, and other times, it's to our detriment."

Commissioners agreed to award Sarstedt a performance-based grant with a minimum payment of $37,985 a year for three years, with a maximum incentive of $113,955.

The grant stipulates Sarstedt invest money into Catawba County through expansion and renovation of the company's Newton facility. According to Catawba County's website, the company will construct a 50,000-square-foot distribution warehouse that includes a high-bay automated storage and revival system. The investment also includes a 50,000-square-foot expansion of Sarstedt's existing warehouse.

The current Sarstedt property is valued at $11,950,932. With the expansion, the new Sarstedt facility will have a tax value of $26.1 million.

Those investments led Newton City Council in January to award Sarstedt with a maximum economic incentive grant of $228,336 during the next five years.

As with Newton's incentives, Sarstedt must fulfill several requirements to receive the grant. Catawba County requires the company meet minimum job creation and investment thresholds during the course of the economic agreement. Repayment of the grant is required if the investment isn't met.

Catawba County attorney Debra Bechtel said the county has stipulations in the contract with Sarstedt to allow officials to verify job creation claims.

Sarstedt vice president of administration Bruce Hendel told Newton City Council in January that the expansion is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2011. The company will add 20 full-time jobs by the close of 2013.

The new employees are expected to earn a minimum of 130 percent of the estimated hourly wage for Catawba County occupations, according to the Catawba County EDC.

Newton's incentive agreements are also based on performance and can be diminished if those performance criteria aren't met.

"We reward based on the level of incentive," said Newton City Manager Todd Clark. "And if they fulfill 100 percent of the investment, then the reward is 100 percent."

Sarstedt was founded in 1961, and the company's Newton facility employs about 200 people.