Local Politics

Cumberland commissioners change course on chicken plant hearing

Posted January 20, 2015

— After the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners voted 4-3 against a public hearing regarding a $2.5 million incentive package for Sanderson Farms, the body reversed their decision Tuesday night amid loud opposition – also by a 4-3 vote.

Commissioners Charles Evans, Jeannette Council, Jimmy Keefe and Glenn Adams voted in favor. Commissioners Marshall Faircloth, Kenneth Edge and Larry Lancaster voted against.

"We are not accomplishing anything except distorting and destroying our reputation in this community," Edge said.

But the vote may have been for nothing. County Attorney Rick Moorefield said the county was no longer being considered.

Sanderson Farms, which has been courted by at least one location in Virginia, hasn't said publicly if it is still considering Cumberland County. The company was considering whether to build a $95 million plant in a county-owned industrial park in Cedar Creek, east of Interstate 95.

Tuesday's vote comes days after Evans changed his mind, saying he was now in favor of the meeting after hearing from his constituency.

Evans said he initially voted against the plan due to not having answers to outstanding questions about the incentives and because the package did not include a provision that allows convicted felons to apply for jobs the plant would bring.

Under the terms of the incentives plan, Sanderson Farms would create at least 975 jobs – 60 percent of which would go to Cumberland County residents – over three years and not contract with any poultry farms within a 10-mile radius of its facility or within a mile of the Cape Fear River. The jobs would have paid almost $11 an hour to start.

In exchange, the county would provide the company a 50 percent grantback of county property taxes to be paid over a nine-year period.

But for now, the proposed plant has brought plenty of debate.

"Now we are going to talk about chicken pollutants, polluting the water even more," Bryan Milner said.

The chicken processing plant could bring 1,000 jobs to the area, something Robert Lee would like to see.

"I would be willing to work for $8 an hour," he said.

The public hearing is expected to be held in early February.


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  • kermit60 Jan 21, 2015

    MISEEM- Money for Police, Fire and Schools comes from property tax. Which is paid by whomever owns the property. So, someone is paying now and will pay in the future weather these people move here or not.

  • miseem Jan 21, 2015

    View quoted thread

    Right. Until that county finds themselves in a bind from not enough revenue from the plant to cover costs of schools, police, fire protection and other services needed for the people moving in for jobs. Even Cumberland county does not have enough people now to fill 1,000 "almost" $11/hour jobs processing chickens. Imagine the increased demand for services in a smaller county. So potential pollution is not the only factor in making a decision on this plant. Good luck to whoever lands this plum. Their taxpayers are going to need it.

  • justabumer Jan 21, 2015

    If this thing is built in Cumberland County all of those who voted in favor should be required to live next door to the plant for one month every year.

  • stymieindurham Jan 21, 2015

    They act like the Wake School Board.

  • Sean Creasy Jan 21, 2015
    user avatar

    A little late for that now isn't it? Looks like another group of politicians trying to make themselves look good for the upcoming election year.