Evergreen gets economic incentives from Haywood

Pollution-reducing investments made by Evergreen Packaging in Canton will earn them a small tax break. File photo Pollution-reducing investments made by Evergreen Packaging in Canton will earn them a small tax break. File photo

Although recent economic development efforts by Haywood County, including a highly anticipated partnership with the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, focus on drawing new business to the area, Haywood County Commissioner and Economic Development Council Board Member Mike Sorrells says devoting effort to retention and expansion of existing businesses is just as important. 

“We’ve made a huge effort not only in trying to create and bring in new jobs, but also in maintaining our existing jobs — that’s one of the legs that we work on, and this is a huge undertaking we’ve been working on for years.”

Sorrells’ comments came after Haywood commissioners voted unanimously Feb. 19 to approve economic grant incentives for Evergreen Packaging, one of the county’s largest employers. 

In 2014, Evergreen entered into an agreement with the North Carolina Department of Commerce whereby Evergreen would invest $50 million into pollution control at its Canton facility. 

Evergreen’s initial investment of more than $17 million for boiler upgrades has resulted in additional personal property taxes for Evergreen of about $102,000, but the county’s incentives will grant back half of that, or about $51,000 from now until the end of 2024.

According to county documents, additional investments by Evergreen that are only now becoming taxable will also be eligible for the same grants, once the public hearing process on those investments is complete. 

In North Carolina, public bodies can’t make outright payments to businesses, as is possible in some other states. Instead, local governments can rebate a portion of taxes paid by the business — meaning that even under the most generous incentives packages, governments always see a revenue increase as a result of the investment. 

According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, total wages paid in the manufacturing sector in Haywood County for the third quarter of 2017 surged to $33.06 million, a huge jump from the previous quarter’s $29.89 million and the fourth-highest total since January 2014. 

Over those 15 quarters, total wages ranged from a low of just under $28 million to a high of $33.69 million, while the historical average over that same duration is $30.75 million.

“This solidifies the jobs that Haywood County depends on, and Evergreen is one of the highest paying jobs that we have in this county,” Sorrells said. “It helps keep their presence in this county strong.”

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