The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

June 16, 2014

R&B Machines seeks 60 workers for $3.5M project

County approves enterprise zone designation for Dekko Industrial Park

Project officials said a $3.5 million venture to bring a new machining company to Dekko Industrial Park in Ardmore will generate 60 jobs, including the initial hiring of 20 employees.

California-based R&B Machines, which formed R&B Alabama LLC, intends to renovate a leased building at 25606 Brewer Drive in the industrial park. The company manufactures alloy components for customers spanning high-tech sectors such as satellite, aerospace, defense, energy and medical devices.

Brian Peoples, chief operating officer for Advanced Technical Aerospace and part of the group behind the R&B deal, said construction should begin within 30 days. He said R&B needs “an immediate workforce” of 20 computer numerical control operators, programmers and supervisors.

R&B already has one CNC machine for the building, with plans to purchase a second machine.

“We’ll need workers right away because (the deal) does not involve an existing business, only the building,” Peoples said on Monday. “The existing building will need modifying to fit the machines through the door.”

The Limestone County Commission unanimously approved Monday a request by R&B for a enterprise zone designation, allowing companies within the industrial park to qualify for new market tax credits.

The federal tax credits are provided through the Department of Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. The program is aimed at decreasing unemployment rates and boosting economic development in areas that may not be considered viable for loans by traditional lenders.

Tom Hill, president of the Limestone County Economic Development Association, said the designation is directly responsible for enabling the addition of another company to the park and attracting 60 new jobs. He said he expects starting pay to be about $18 per hour.

The commission also approved 3-1 to permit R&B, which is operating as BrightWater R&B Acquisition to abate $131,250 in non-educational taxes for the purchase of equipment and revamping the building. District 4 Commissioner Ben Harrison, whose policy is to oppose tax abatements because he believes it is unfair to provide them for select companies, cast the dissenting vote.

The county was not asked to abate taxes for the actual property, Hill said. The abatements include $51,250 in sales taxes during construction, which is expected to take about a year, and $80,000 in property taxes for the equipment, or $8,000 during a 10-year period.

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