County approves incentives offer
Hires Virginia firm for pay study
by Bob Shiles Staff writer
LUMBERTON — The Robeson County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved incentives for an industry considering locating in Robeson County.
The industry, code named Project Cardinal, is expected to invest $19 million in equipment and machinery, Greg Cummings, the county’s industrial developer told the commissioners. Cummings also said the company would create 64 jobs that would pay workers an average of $30,000 a year.
Cummings said that in addition to looking at possible sites in Robeson County, the well-established company is also looking at sites in California and Texas. Cummings said there have been some “successful” meetings recently with company officials.
County Manager Ricky Harris said that the number of jobs would probably qualify the company for the county’s top level of tax incentives — exempting it from 10 years of property taxes.
“Do whatever you have to do to get them here,” Commissioner Raymond Cummings told Greg Cummings.
The commissioners on Tuesday approved entering into a contract with Springsted Inc., a national consulting company with an office in Richmond, Va., to conduct a county employee classification and compensation study. The contract says the study will not exceed $35,100.
Commissioner Roger Oxendine, chairman of the county’s Personnel Committee, said the company has done similar work for other counties in North Carolina, as well as the state Association of County Commissioners.
Oxendine said that Springsted will look at all of the county’s job descriptions and pay grades to ensure that employees are doing the jobs they are supposed to be doing and being compensated adequately.
Harris said the need for the study became apparent during this year’s budget process. The county has not had a similar classification and compensation study done for the past eight to 10 years, he said.
“There have been some modifications made in the current system over the past 10 years, but we need to do a new classification study to get all of the classifications in order,” Harris said.
Harris said Springsted will look at all of the county’s employee classifications and compensations and make recommendations for the commissioners to consider when they adopt a new classification and compensation plan. He said that the company recently did a similar study in Brunswick County and Brunswick officials recommended the firm.
“This may cost us a little money, but it will get our people on a pay scale that they deserve,” Oxendine said.
In other business, the commissioners received the County Partnership Award from the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service Foundation. The award was presented by Cathy Graham, Robeson County’s Extension director, and Gregg Hoover, Southeast District Extension director.
The County Partnership Award recognizes local governments for their partnership with N.C. Cooperative Extension.
In her nomination, Graham described the ways Robeson County has partnered with Cooperative Extension.
“Robeson County has provided much-needed resources to upgrade and repair the Cooperative Extension Center and has supported Extension positions,” Graham said. “In turn, Cooperative Extension provides a number of training opportunities for county employees, including nutrition and wellness programs, orientation for new county employees, and two Leadership Academies focusing on team building, communication and more.”
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