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Here’s how York County thought inside and outside the box, attracting $400 million.

ARTICLE BY: JOHN MARKS
THE HERALD 


From cardboard boxes to metal machining, York County has manufacturing and manufacturing jobs coming.

York County Council finalized two agreements Nov. 18 that will add or expand operations.

Council finalized a tax incentive agreement with New-Indy Containerboard for property at 5300 Cureton Ferry Road in Catawba. New-Indy bought the Resolute Forest Products paper mill site on Dec. 31, 2018 for $300 million. New-Indy projects a total investment of $433 million. The incentive agreement requires $400 million invested within eight years.

The facility now makes communication papers. New-Indy manufactures container board, a product that goes into cardboard boxes. The company mainly has recycled container board mills across the country.

“We plan to convert that mill to produce virgin container board,” said Rick Hartman, New-Indy COO. “It’s about a 10-month process and we’re in the throes of finalizing engineering and purchasing of the equipment to manufacture that.”

It will cost about $240 million to convert the mill. Other new equipment costs factored into the purchase price last year.

Hartman said the incentive agreement, which locks in a tax rate at the 4% homeowners typically pay rather than industrial users, was important in picking York County.

“The support is critical to the facility’s continued growth and success,” he said. “It’ll breathe new life into the mill, which was really headed on a downward spiral. It’ll cement the future of the mill and it will actually provide and preserve jobs.”

As of the sale, the mill employed 460 people. Bowater opened it in 1957. In 2007 the company merged with Abitibi Consolidated to form AbitibiBowater. That company emerged from creditor protection in 2011 as Resolute Forest Products, Inc.

Also relying on a tax incentive to grow business in York County is National Machinery & Fabrication. Jimmy Hutto, owner and president, is a Rock Hill resident. His company has been at its York County site since 1997.

“We perform work for about 30 industrial companies,” Hutto said. “This expansion is very important and will allow us for continual growth and expansion of our operation.”

The company specializes in waterjetting and precision cutting, machining and fabrication. The incentive agreement projects an investment of $4.2 million and at least 40 jobs in five years through site expansion.

A plan submitted to the county shows a new 5,000-square-foot metal frame building at the existing site on Steele Village Road in Rock Hill. Hutto said his decision to expand operations manufacturing items for metal, plastic and rubber industrial applications came easier with the tax incentives.

“This support and consideration has made a difference in my decision on keeping the existing industry and the new expansion here in York County,” he said.

Councilman Joel Hamilton, who voted for both incentive agreements, said there may be a perception economic development activity in York County is all about attracting large companies from elsewhere. Hutto’s expansion is proof there is plenty going on too, he said, with existing business.

“This is a great example of a longstanding business here in this county that has served our area by employing people in great jobs, making an investment in producing even more in this county and employing even more people,” Hamilton said.

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