The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

March 17, 2014

Commission votes 3-1 for $500K Remington incentives

— The Limestone County Commission voted 3-1 on Monday to approve its $500,000 portion of $1 million in local incentives to entice a North Caroline-based gun manufacturer to locate a new plant in Madison County.

Remington Outdoor Company will receive the half-million from the county in three equal installments during a three-year period starting April 15.

The City Council already approved its $250,000 share, and Limestone County Economic Development Partners Inc. is providing the other quarter-million for Remington’s planned Huntsville plant.

Commissioners Gary Daly, Bill Latimer and Steve Turner voted for the resolution to approve the county’s cash incentives, while District 4 Commissioner Ben Harrison voted against the measure “on principle.”

Harrison reiterated his previous position that taxpayer money should not be used to lure industries.

“It’s not good for government to get into subsidizing businesses,” Harrison said.

Daly countered if Limestone did not offer incentives, other municipalities would be willing to supply them to land new companies and jobs.

“The rules of the game are same for all cities. We either play with the rules (of industry recruitment), or let the world pass us by,” Daly said.

Harrison responded he realized incentives are legal but said he viewed giving public funds to private businesses as a moral problem. He added the commissioners’ influence was limited to “an up or down vote” without being part of the recruiting process.

“A lot of (legal) things are not moral, and I believe this is a moral issue,” he said.

Tom Hill, president of the Limestone County Economic Development Association, said during the meeting the $1 million is part of a $60 million incentive package being offered to Remington to help cover the cost of purchasing and renovating the company’s future home in the Old Chrysler Building.

The facility is the former Continental Automotive Systems plant near the Huntsville International Airport.

Other entities contributing to the package are the city of Huntsville and the city’s Industrial Development Board and Morgan and Madison counties. Hill said Remington will be investing $110 million in the project.

Hill said he expects approximately 2,000 jobs to be created by the firearms plant, with “at least 15 to 20 percent” of the workforce living in Limestone County.

“It’s a regional project and not just a (Huntsville) project,” he said.

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