Thursday, December 7, 2023

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City council, commissioners go behind closed doors for economic development projects

While Burlington’s city council took action in an open meeting, and after a public hearing, on the LabCorp $71 million project at the Burlington-Alamance Airport – code-named “Project Sky King” – the council also went behind closed doors Tuesday night for another, unspecified economic development project.

The council didn’t spend more than five to 10 minutes before re-emerging without making any announcement.

Meanwhile, the county commissioners also spent a chunk of time behind closed doors at their meeting the Monday night prior to Burlington’s action. One of the commissioners’ topics was for economic development.

The commissioners spent a little over 35 minutes with representatives from the Alamance County Area Chamber of Commerce, which serves as the economic developer for the county, on an economic development matter.

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The commissioners remained in closed session for another 12 minutes on an unrelated matter after the chamber’s entourage left the closed session.

Chamber representatives were present Tuesday night during the Burlington city council meeting, but did not appear to go with the council members into their closed meeting.

They also refused to say whether Monday night’s commissioner discussion for economic incentives might have been on the same LabCorp project that was publicly identified during the city council meeting.

The commissioners have also not yet dealt with another economic incentives project, for Alamance Foods, that has already been approved by Burlington’s city council.

Peter Bishop, Burlington’s economic developer, told the newspaper after his city council approved its incentives package that a similar package – he said for $630,000 – would be coming before the commissioners later in January, after it was approved by the city council earlier that month. But, in fact, there has been no public acknowledgement from the county that an incentives agreement with Alamance Foods might be in the offing.

The county typically publicly identifies a company seeking incentives at the time that they set a public hearing for subsequent consideration of the financial incentives request.

There has been no hearing set for any incentives yet for the commissioners for 2023.

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