Turbocoating gets $260K in possible incentives

Catawba County will provide up to $260,000 to Turbocoating Corp. USA after its recent announcement to locate its first United States operation in Hickory.

Turbocoating plans to create at least 80 new jobs paying an average wage of $50,000 per year and invest $13 million in four years for machinery and equipment, according to Julie Pruett, director of recruitment for Catawba County Economic Development Corp. However, it's also possible Turbocoating can invest $15 million and 110 new jobs in five years.

The performance-based grant incentives unanimously approved during Catawba County Commissioners' Monday meeting includes $52,163 a year for four years for a total of $208,652, if Turbocoating meets the minimum investment. If the company's investment meets 110 new jobs and $15 million investments, the county will award Turbocoating with another year of incentives, totaling $260,815.

Pruett explained the incentives are "self-generated" and will "only be based on the new property generated by the company."

The minimum requirements must by met by 2016.

Turbocoating is leasing a 60,000-square-foot building in Catawba Industrial Commons, which is the former Corning Cable Systems building at 1926 Main Ave. SE in Hickory. Turbocoating was created in Parma, Italy, and started examining the Charlotte area after it became known as an "energy hub," Pruett said.

"This is a very high-tech industry and what we want to recruit to (Catawba County)," Pruett said, adding EDC staff worked almost a year to encourage Turbocoating to locate in the county.

The company creates protective coatings for components used in industrial gas turbines and engines. The coatings allow for a longer life and is used by companies, such as Siemens, Alstom, General Electric and Rolls Royce.

The company made its official announcement to locate to Catawba County in April.

Catawba County Manager Tom Lundy said Turbocoating is also an Education Matters partner. The company will only hire employees with a high school diploma or GED.

Hiring started this month. To apply, contact the N.C. Employment Security Commission in Newton at (828) 466-5535.

In other business:
Commissioners approved an amendment to a contract between Catawba County and Conover for revenue sharing on the Bunker Hill, Oxford, River Bend sewer project.

Commissioners and the city of Conover signed a contract May 15, 2006, for revenue sharing on the Bunker Hill sewer line. The agreement stated the contract was void if construction didn't start in two years of its execution. The amendment changed the effective date from May 15, 2006, to April 5, 2011.

Barry Edwards, Catawba County Utilities and Engineering director, said the project cost is $2.93 million and the county received a grant for $1.6 million from the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources for public water supply. The sewer serves Bunker Hill High School, River Bend Middle School and Oxford Elementary School.

Advertisements for bids in the project starts Thursday. Businesses can bid in three divisions: Oxford Gravity Sewer, Bunker Hill Gravity Sewer and/or Bunker Hill Pump Station and Force Main.
The project is expected to start this summer and be complete in May 2012.

Commissioners unanimously approved an agreement between Catawba County and Maiden for revenue sharing on the Jim Beard-Robinette-Mockingbird water project, which is also referred to as the Cardinal Estates Subdivision water project. The Board also approved an agreement between the county and Wendall McCaslin for cost-sharing portions of the cost of construction on the water project, as well as approval of a budget revision for $72,440 to the water and sewer enterprise fund.

According to Edwards, McCaslin approached Maiden and Catawba County about extending the water system to the area because eight residents are without water "majority of the time."

McCaslin is to pay 50 percent of the various costs associated with the different lines being installed, Edwards said. It's possible, Edwards said, for 20 more properties to be served in the area once the project is complete.

After a 3-1 vote, Commissioners awarded a construction bid at the EcoComplex Crop Processing Facility to Hamlett Associates Inc., of Climax, for $775,786; and a contract for administration and construction observation with McGill Associates for $55,000.

Commissioner Randy Isenhower opposed the vote, explaining he doesn't think government should be involved in the project. Commissioner Barbara Beatty was absent from Monday's meeting.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners' next meeting is at 7 p.m. May 16 in the 1924 Courthouse. Meetings are open to the public.