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County Approves Incentive Grants for Timken

Investment. Jobs. Timken. They’re three words that seem to go hand-in-hand lately. And with Monday night’s approval of incentive grants by county commissioners. The Timken Company is on its way toward another upgrade. Commissioners voted unanimously to offer Timken’s Lincolnton Bearing Plant a $49,367 incentive package, to be paid over five years. The $9,873 per year grant equals a 65 percent reduction in taxes, said Laura Foor, existing business coordinator for the Lincoln Economic Development Association. The grant will make it easier for Timken to complete a $3.5 million equipment and machinery expansion, resulting in a new manufacturing line. The expansion will create 20 new jobs paying $15-18 an hour, Foor said. Seth Haney, general manager of the Lincolnton plant, said the company will “hire off the street” to fill those jobs. “This is part of out attempt to diversify our plant,” Haney said. With more and more companies competing for projects, Haney said incentive grants make a difference when trying to keep investment local. “It’s one item of a few that our executive look at when making these decisions,” Haney said. At a press conference in July, Timken announced a $16 million investment in the Lincolnton Bearing Plant. W.R. Timken, chairman of The Timken Company’s board of directors, said the county incentive package of $250,000 influenced the company’s decision to choose Lincolnton. The newest upgrade will be complete by December, according to the incentive grant agreement. The $3.5 million investment must be made and the 20 new jobs created in two years, the agreement states. “It’s a pleasure to see someone expanding instead of plants closing,” Commission Chairman Jerry Cochrane said. Lincolnton’s Timken plant employs 640 people full-time. Sixty percent of those employees are Lincoln County resident, Haney said. The company pays out $25 million in payroll annually. Lincoln residents take home about $15 million of that. The Lincolnton Bearing Plant on N.C. 27 East began operations in 1979. It was designed as the most modern tapered roller bearing manufacturing facility in the world, according to Timken’s website. Light and heavy-duty truck, farm and earth-moving equipment manufacturers are the plant’s primary customers, as well as other industrial, military and aerospace applications. The Timken Company is a leading international manufacturer of highly engineered bearings, alloy and specialty steels and components, as well as a provider of related products and services. With operations in 24 countries, the company employs about 18,700 people worldwide and recorded 2001 sales of $2.4 billion.