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Pasquotank OKs $200K tax break for Telephonics

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By Jon Hawley
Special to The Daily Advance

Friday, August 23, 2019

Pasquotank County commissioners have approved an additional $200,000 in incentives for the Telephonics corporation’s expansion into the county’s Commerce Park.

In a unanimous vote Monday, commissioners approved a Business Investment Program agreement that will rebate half of the expansion’s property taxes for the next several years.

In presenting the agreement to commissioners, county staff and Elizabeth City-Pasquotank County economic developer Christian Lockamy reported the rebates were part of the deal to get Telephonics to expand locally.

Telephonics is a global aerospace communications company that’s had a small office at the Elizabeth City Regional Airport for years. The company announced its expansion into the Commerce Park at 112 Corporate Drive, a former bank headquarters, earlier this month. The growth will help it better serve Coast Guard and Naval customers, company executives said.

Notably, Gov. Roy Cooper and other state officials came to Pasquotank to mark the occasion, touting the 75 high-paying jobs the company proposes creating in coming years.

To secure those new jobs, and some $5.5 million in investment, Pasquotank also won two grants for the company, one a Building Reuse and the other from the One North Carolina Fund, totaling $650,000. Those also came with local matches totaling just over $100,000. To support the project and help the county, Elizabeth City City Council approved covering about a fourth of that cost.

The Business Investment Program is another tool the county and city have used over the years to support major, job-creating business expansions. The program supported the Tanglewood Pavilions shopping complex that includes Hobby Lobby, and more recently supported the construction — still ongoing — of a multiplex theater on Halstead Boulevard Extended. Usually, the program provides about a decade of declining property tax reimbursements.

Telephonics’ Business Investment Program incentive is structured a little differently, Lockamy explained in a followup interview. The agreement would instead provide a steady, 50 percent property tax reimbursement for up to 10 years, or when $200,000 total is refunded, whichever comes first.

At $200,000, the incentive would be less than what the county is rebating Albemarle Theaters, Lockamy noted.

The Business Investment Program requires beneficiaries to pay their entire property taxes on time, after which the county will rebate the appropriate amount.

Telephonics’ agreement requires it to invest $5.5 million in the site, and to create all 75 jobs before 2024.

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