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Taxpayers’ $2.8M helps land refuse industry manufacturer

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(The Center Square) – A state panel has approved Amrep Manufacturing Company, a Pennsylvania-headquartered producer of waste collection trucks, for $2.8 million in taxpayer subsidies in a $21 million plant expansion in Rowan County.

Amrep has an East Coast Manufacturing Facility on Julian Road in Salisbury. The company is a manufacturer of front end loaders, side loaders, roll-off hoists and trailers for the refuse industry. Prior to the announcement, the Rowan County industrial park there lists a 40-job, $5 million capital investment by the company.

Amrep’s fiscal 2023 revenues eclipsed $48.6 million, generating net revenue of nearly $21.8 million, its website says in financial filings.

The expansion will create 170 jobs over five years with an average salary of $57,490. Economic developers said the annual payroll impact in the area will be more than $1.6 million. Rowan County, the state said in a release, has average annual wage of $50,138.

The company, a subsidiary of Wastequip, plans to build an 80,000-square-foot production facility next to its current facility.

“Salisbury was Amrep’s first expansion of our manufacturing operations several years ago – and this area, including the highly skilled workforce and cooperation of local and state officials continues to afford excellent opportunities for us,” said Eric Mattson, president of Wastequip’s Truck Division. “We are very excited to get this project underway.”

Rock Hill, S.C., was also competing for the project and had offered incentives of $6 million to $7 million, the state of North Carolina said.

The Economic Investment Committee on Thursday approved Amrep for a $1.6 million job development investment grant and $174,000 for utility work. It could also receive community college training for employees valued at $306,000 and other state grants totaling $387,400. Rowan County is offering incentives totaling an additional $556,000.

“These new jobs and investments are great additions to our community,” said state Sen. Carl Ford, R-Rowan. “This expansion will help fuel our local economy and make a positive impact on the people of Rowan County.”

The expansion is projected to produce $1.51 in revenue for the state for every $1 in taxpayer incentives provided, the state said.

“JDIG projects result in positive net tax revenue to the state treasury, even after taking into consideration the grant’s reimbursement payments to a given company,” the state said in a release.

The department justifies the incentives based upon new jobs that the businesses will bring to the state, announcing the average hourly wage for the new jobs and comparing it to the median hourly wage of the county.

Economists question the effectiveness of financial incentives to private businesses to expand or come to a new state.

The use of hourly wage as an indicator is questioned because high salaries of a few corporate leaders can skew the average higher while it would not have the same impact on the median wage.

In a statement, Gov. Roy Cooper said, “Amrep Manufacturing’s expansion in Rowan County validates our efforts to support home grown manufacturers, including a great quality of life, an ideal location, and a diverse, skilled workforce.”

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