- Allen Turner
Commissioners okay grant for company near Georgia-Pacific
In a split 6-1 vote, the Columbus County Board of Commissioners last Monday approved a $100,000 grant to the Columbus Jobs Foundation’s revolving loan fund to be used for economic development.
Commissioners had to tiptoe in their discussion around revealing confidential economic development matters concerning what has been code-named “Project Splinter,” said to involve a company that will support another larger company that wants to locate on the vacant Georgia-Pacifi c industrial site between Whiteville and Chadbourn.
Commissioner James Prevatte voted against the measure. “I can’t support it,” he said, “because we’re going to loan money to a company without a proven track record.”
Other commissioners and Columbus Jobs Foundation Chairman Rick Edwards were unable to convince Prevatte that the loan, that would be funded through the grant, would be risk-free. Edwards told the group that the Jobs Foundation would have liens on the loan recipient’s accounts receivable and vehicle titles.
An amendment was added to the original motion by Commissioner Edwin Russ to require that the $100,000 be maintained in a separate accounting partition and that updates can be required quarterly on the status of the loan and the performance of the company receiving it.