Council OKs $100K match to assist Hockmeyer project


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Elizabeth City City Council voted unanimously Monday to approve a $100,000 city match for a $300,000 state grant that’s designed to facilitate Hockmeyer Equipment Corporation’s expansion project.

The city’s match for the One North Carolina Fund grant will come from the city’s aviation account, City Manager Rich Olson explained.

Hockmeyer, which manufactures industrial equipment and has been in business for more than 80 years, announced last month it plans to expand at its current location and add 90 jobs. The expansion involves an anticipated investment of more than $6 million, the company said.

Awards from the One North Carolina Fund, or OneNC Fund, are based on the number of jobs created, level of investment, location of the project, economic impact, and the importance of the project to the state and region, according to information Olson provided to City Council.

According to city officials, the average salary for the new jobs at Hockmeyer is $37,400, which is higher than the county median wage of $35,929.

The OneNC Fund is a discretionary cash grant program that allows the governor to respond quickly to competitive job creation projects. The state Department of Commerce administers the fund.

Awards are allocated to local governments as part of a negotiated challenge grant. By statute, OneNC requires that a local government provide an incentive to match the OneNC funding.

In an unrelated matter, council also voted unanimously to approve financing for $800,000 in water and sewer line improvements. A public hearing on the financing was held Monday in order to comply with requirements set by the N.C. Local Government Commission.

Olson also presented an update on the city’s Hurricane Dorian response. He praised the work of city employees and the planning by department directors.

“This was a team effort,” Olson said.

Council adopted six resolutions of gratitude expressing appreciation for those who helped with the storm response. The resolutions thanked the city’s own employees; the cities of Tarboro, Rocky Mount, Wake Forest and Wilson, who sent crews to assist in the response; and ElectriCities, which sent an emergency coordinator.