City of Clinton and Sampson County officials this week approved a tax incentives package to attract a $2.6 million investment from Brooks Brothers, a company that already has a sizable county presence and looks to expand its Clinton footprint by some 21 full-time jobs.
“I think they are working hard to be able to continue their commitment to stay in the area and I think this is something that will incentive them to stay here for years to come,” County manager Ed Causey said during the county regular meeting Monday. “I would support this.”
Attorney Joel Starling said the performance-based incentives package is similar to what has been entered into by the county in the past. Commissioner Albert Kirby expressed some concern with offering close to 60 percent in grant-back incentives, he agreed the investment was worthwhile and said the county could fall back on a claw-back provision if benchmarks are not met.
The Board of Commissioners unanimously agreed to extend the incentives, as did the City Council at its meeting Tuesday night.
The expansion would be at Brooks Brothers’ Distribution Center on Warsaw Road in Clinton. The scope of the proposed project changed over the course of the past year with the number of jobs being created decreasing but the investment itself doubling.
John Swope, executive director of the Sampson Economic Development Commission, explained to both boards that the incentive payments would be made to Brooks Brothers in return for the company’s commitment to make certain capital investments and maintain certain levels of employment in the county.
Under the proposed incentives agreement, the county would provide performance‐based payments to Brooks Brothers in the amount of $57,963 over a 10‐year period — 58 percent of its tax bills — in return for the company’s taxable investment of $2,555,000 in equipment and $112,500 in building improvements.
County tax revenues would be a shade under $100,000 over that 10‐year period, with the project bringing the additional employment of 21 full-time positions at an average annual salary of $31,714. On the city’s end, the incentive package would cost $17,222 in grant-back incentives over five years.
“While the incentive is more, the city will also receive $10,000 more,” City manager Shawn Purvis previously stated. “The number of jobs is fewer than before, however the company has already hired several positions over the past year and expects the average salary to be $31,714, $9,000 more annually than the previous proposal.”
Brooks Brothers presented a similar request for incentives to the city and county in spring 2014. At that time, an investment of $1.27 million and the creation of 56 jobs with an average salary of $22,700 was proposed for the Clinton facility. Since that request, Brooks Brothers revised its plans and requested a larger incentive.
Brooks Brothers’ distribution center currently provides 48 full-time positions and 30 part-time or temporary positions. The company purchased its current building in 2012 after leasing it for several years and, as of 2013, the tax value for the Brooks Brothers facility was $1.41 million.
The Sampson County Economic Development office will be responsible for monitoring the actual investment and job creation benchmarks before the city or county provides any grants.
Reach staff writer Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.