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There’s good news for Burke County among the economic free-fall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A West Coast bottling company plans to make Burke County its East Coast home. The company plans to move into the former Ice River Springs building on Ceramic Tile Drive in Morganton.

Burke County commissioners approved an economic incentive and grant match on Tuesday night for the company, whose name has yet to be revealed.

The county has applied to the state for a $500,000 Building Reuse grant. The required 5 percent local match would be split between the county and city of Morganton. Each of the two local governments would be responsible for $12,000.

Also, a $500,000 One NC grant application was submitted on behalf of the company. The grant requires a 50 percent local match.

The match would come from the county and city as an economic development incentive equivalent to 60 percent of the taxes paid on the new taxable investment for five years. Based on the estimated investment and the county’s current tax rate, the county’s portion would be $77,145 every year for five years, or $385,725 in total.

Morganton’s portion of the incentive would be $63,270 per year, or $316,350 in total.

The incentives are based on the company creating at least 151 new full-time jobs by the end of 2022.

Alan Wood, president and CEO of Burke Development Inc., said the company is a beverage co-packer that does sodas, water and juices for private label manufacturers for big box stores.

Wood said the North Carolina Department of Commerce is expected to announce the name of the company on Tuesday, along with a One NC grant for the business.

The company plans to put in new production lines and invest around $18.5 million, on top of the purchase price, and create 226 jobs over five years, Wood said.

Wood said he believes it was the facility and the capabilities it has, as well as the manufacturing workforce that attracted the company to Burke County. He said it’s a great building and matches up well with what the company does, as does the skill set of workers here that are already familiar with the process.

Burke County will be the company’s East coast operation with manufacturing and distribution. It currently employs roughly around 400 to 500 employees, Wood said.

“It’s a great project and we’re lucky they continued this during the pandemic,” Wood said.

The company has two locations in the west, he said.

Also on Tuesday, Burke County Manager Bryan Steen released his proposed 2020-21 budget, which would keep the property tax rate at 69.5 cents per $100 of property value. The county’s general fund budget is proposed at $90 million.

Commissioners will hold a virtual budget meeting at 2 p.m. Friday on the Zoom meeting platform.

The new budget will include the creation of three animal control positions. The county sheriff’s office will no longer provide animal control enforcement. The new positions will be under the county manager’s authority.

The positions would be one Animal Services enforcement supervisor and two Animal Services enforcement officers.

The salary range for the Animal Services Enforcement Supervisor position is between a minimum of $38,970 and a maximum of $60,403. The salary range for the Animal Services Enforcement Officer positions is between a minimum of $33,661 and a maximum of $52,188, said Rhonda Lee, human resources director for the county.

Sharon McBrayer can be reached at smcbrayer@morganton.com or at 828-432-8946.

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