IW reduces economic development grants to Franklin Lumber

Published 1:03 pm Saturday, August 19, 2017

Isle of Wight County’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Thursday to reduce its payment of economic development incentive grants to Franklin Lumber LLC for the last two payments of its five-year agreement with the company.

According to county staff reports, the county executed its original agreement with the company in 2013, based on agreed-upon employment and investment thresholds. The company has since determined that the employment and investment thresholds will not be met.

The agreement expires at the end of the current calendar year. County staff has spoken with the owners of Franklin Lumber and they have agreed to forgo the next two EDIG payments as a result of not expecting to meet the agreed-upon thresholds. However, the owners do plan to invest $1.5 million per year over the next seven years, which will bring the company to the investment threshold. Additionally, the owners say they are recruiting to fill the remaining positions needed to meet the employment threshold.

As a result of forgoing the next two EDIG payments, the county expects to save $98,411.

County staff also reports that Franklin Lumber has recently purchased the former ATC Panels facility across the street from International Paper and will be expanding operations there, as well as trying to lease portions of the facility. The company currently purchases approximately 60.5 percent of their logs from Virginia landowners and uses a Virginia trucking company to transport products. The average employee salary at the facility is $60,401 annually.