ALEXANDER COUNTY (May 26, 2021) – The Alexander Industrial Park will be expanding as the Alexander County Board of Commissioners approved the sale of approximately 25 acres of county-owned land to Paragon Films for $600,000.
David Icenhour, Executive Director of the Alexander County Economic Development Corporation, presented information about Paragon’s offer on the property, which is located on White Plains Road near NC Hwy. 90 East.
Icenhour said the 25.613-acre property was listed for sale at a minimum price of $500,000. Officials with Paragon Films announced their interest in the property and offered $600,000 for the property. The acquisition will allow Paragon to expand production and warehouse space.
Brandon Kale, Plant Manager for Paragon’s Alexander County facility, said that Paragon opened its first plant here in 2005. He said the company has expanded the current facility two times, and the company continues to grow. The current building footprint is approximately 155,000 square feet.
“Our current facility is a balance of finished goods and manufacturing space with another expansion underway at the existing building,” Kale said. “We plan to relocate our warehousing. This will double our current blueprint with double the employees and double the production.”
“Paragon Films has been very pleased with the partnership in Alexander County,” Kale said. “We have really good people who work here for us.”
Learn more about the stretch-film company at www.paragonfilms.com.
In other business:
• Commissioners held a public hearing regarding the proposed budget. County Manager Rick French presented the proposed 2021-2022 county budget to commissioners at their May 10th meeting.
The proposed General Fund budget for fiscal year 2021-2022 totals $45,598,762. French said that departmental requests totaled $48,009,438, but he and staff worked to trim the requests. There is no property tax increase in the proposed budget. The original budget for 2020-2021 totaled $42,892,442 and currently stands at $49,082,437.
French said it is possible that some of the expenditures could be paid using funds that the county will receive from the American Rescue Plan.
French noted that the City of Hickory is proposing a 3 percent increase in water rates, effective July 1, 2021, subject to approval by the Hickory City Council. Water connection fees were reduced in June 2019, and the lower connection fees will remain in effect until January 2022.
The proposed budget includes an increase in EMS fees. The increases would put Alexander County in line with similar counties in terms of population, size, etc. There has not been an EMS fee increase since 2013.
The proposed budget also includes a $5 increase in landfill fees. French said the transfer station needs a new floor, which will cost $180,000. There have been no landfill increases for over 10 years.
“Mr. French and staff have done a good job with this budget. We’ve done some big projects in the last couple of years,” said Ronnie Reese, Commission Vice Chairman.
Commissioners are scheduled to adopt the budget at their June 7th meeting.
• Alexander County Fire Marshal Mark Earle presented information about seven local fire departments that received grants from the Office of the State Fire Marshal. The grants totaled $114,154.32. Recipients included the following fire departments: Central Alexander ($17,150.27), Ellendale ($14,999.99), Hiddenite ($9,737.50), Stony Point ($24,751.66), Sugar Loaf ($14,479.59), Vashti ($4,185.00), and Wittenburg ($28,850.31). Earle said the fire departments will use the grant funds to replace gear, purchase thermal imaging cameras, upgrade communications equipment, and more.
• Commissioners held a public hearing for nuisance cases located at 134, 152, and 184 Fire Lane in Stony Point. Bill Rogers, Chief Code Enforcement Officer, said the properties have trash in the front yard and road, junk cars, an environment providing a habitat for rodents, etc. The first letters were sent on November 5, 2020 following a nuisance complaint. Two additional notices were sent, with the final notice notifying the property owners of the public hearing to consider an order of abatement by commissioners. Bradley Minton, who owns the property at 134 Fire Lane, said the property was just transferred into his name in April 2021, so he hasn’t had much time to resolve the issues, but he is working to clean up the property. Matt Taylor, who owns the property at 152 and 184 Fire Lane, said he did receive the notices and has been working to clean up the property, having hauled off 14 cars and 17 trailer loads. Commissioners voted unanimously to issue an order of abatement for the property located at 152 and 184 Fire Lane. The property owner will now have 20 days to resolve the issues after the documentation is signed. Commissioners then voted unanimously to table the nuisance case for the property located at 134 Fire Lane until their June 7th meeting.
• Gary Herman, Public Information Officer, presented information about the Emergency Broadband Benefit program. He said the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is now accepting applications for the program. Eligible households could receive a monthly discount on the cost of broadband service from an approved provider. The $3.2 billion program provides a discount of up to $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households. The benefit also provides up to a $100 per household discount toward a one-time purchase of a computer, laptop, or tablet. For more information, visit getemergencybroadband.org.
• Johnny Wear, Assistant Community and Regional Planning Director for the Western Piedmont Council of Governments, reported on the 160D Zoning Ordinance changes. He said the new Chapter 160D of the NC General Statutes consolidates current city- and county-enabling statutes for development regulations into a single, unified chapter. Chapter 160D places these statutes into a more logical, coherent organization with no major policy changes. Wear said the new Chapter 160D requires cities and counties with zoning ordinances to have an up-to-date comprehensive plan or land use plan by July 1, 2022. Alexander County has contracted with the WPCOG to updates current zoning and subdivision development regulations.
• In the County Manager’s report, French said the state is developing a program using American Rescue Plan funds to help expand broadband, water, and sewer. He said the program will help expand the county’s projects.
• Billie Walker, Assistant Health Director, presented a COVID-19 update during the Consolidated Human Services Board meeting. She said the state and county are experiencing the lowest rate of positivity since June 2020. Alexander County currently has a cumulative total of 4,407 cases, 86 deaths, and two in the hospital. The health department continues to conduct testing on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays at 10:00 a.m. They currently have Moderna and Pfizer vaccines available. To schedule a vaccination, call (828) 352-7725 or visit www.alexandercountync.gov/covid.
The Alexander County Board of Commissioners typically meets on the first Monday of each month at 6:00 p.m. in room #103 at the CVCC Alexander Center for Education. The next meeting is set for Monday, June 7 at 6:00 p.m. at CVCC. Regular meetings are recorded, and can be viewed on the county’s Government Channel on Spectrum channel 192 or on the county’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/alexandercountync. Meeting agendas, minutes, videos, and more are available on the county’s website at www.alexandercountync.gov/commissioners.