Mebane industrial park has new prospect, Universal Preserv-A-Chem, and Lotus Bakeries wants to expand

GRAHAM — The Alamance County Board of Commissioners will hold public hearings on incentives for two companies possibly coming to or expanding in the N.C. Industrial Center in Mebane at its meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17, at 124 W. Elm St., Graham.

Lotus Bakeries broke ground in April 2017 in Mebane on its first facility outside Belgium. In 2016, the company famous for Biscoff cookies — known to many as “airline” cookies — got $1.24 million in county incentives and nearly $1.6 million in incentives from Mebane to build a $55.3 million facility and create 60 jobs with average salaries of close to $36,000.

The company proposes a $17.4 million expansion to its facility in Mebane, bringing it to a $72.7 million investment, but no additional jobs, for which it wants an additional $262,000 in county incentives over five years for a total of $1.5 million.

 

New company

Universal Preserv-A-Chem would be a new to the area. It is asking for $90,000 in county incentives over three years, according to a county news release, to invest $9 million in buildings and equipment, and create 39 jobs, none temporary, with an average salary of $44,192.

The company based in Somerset, N.J., describes itself as “distributor and importer of natural ingredients and chemicals for the personal care, food and pharmaceutical industries,” according to its website. Founder Herbert Ravitz started the private company in the 1960s, and it is family run and owned, according to the website.

 

Budget amendments

The Sheriff’s Office plans to buy three new patrol cars with $87,501 in Performance Management Special Projects fund, with commissioners’ approval. Under performance management, departments set goals like Central Communications answering 95 percent of 911 calls within 10 seconds, and find savings in their budgets that can be used for approved projects and equipment.

The expenditure will leave $659 in the fund.

The Sheriff’s Office will also ask the commissioners to permit the use of $22,600 in federal drug forfeiture funds to buy two new police dogs and train new K-9 handlers, and to spend an additional $6,480 on computer equipment.

A $7,000 grant from Impact Alamance to the Stepping Up Initiative could, with the commissioners’ OK, buy 200 mental health first-aid manuals for county employees, including prosecutors, magistrates, bailiffs, judges and probation officers, and pay to train a county employee to act as a trainer for other county employees.

Stepping Up is an effort to keep people in mental-health crisis out of jails or emergency rooms, which are not equipped to best address their needs. Part of that is training people in law enforcement and the justice system to recognize mental health issues and to know how to handle them.

 

Reporter Isaac Groves can be reached at igroves@thetimesnews.com or 336-506-3045. Follow him on Twitter at @tnigroves.