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County revives appointed board to oversee local company’s potential use of industrial revenue bonds to finance expansion

Alamance County’s elected leaders have agreed to resurrect an appointed board that has laid dormant for two decades to allow a local company to draw on a somewhat obscure form of financing in order to expand its operations in Graham.

During their latest regularly-scheduled meeting on Monday, the county’s board of commissioners voted unanimously to revive the county’s industrial facilities and pollution control financing authority in order to accommodate the potential use of industrial revenue bonds by Pureflow, Inc.

A multi-state firm that designs, builds, installs, and maintains high quality water purification systems, Pureflow originally drew on industrial revenue bonds in 2000 in order to bankroll a facility at 1241 Jay Lane in Graham that presently serves as its headquarters.  The company is now contemplating using the same fundraising mechanism in order to construct a second facility across the road from its current HQ.

During their meeting on Monday, the commissioners agreed to reconvene the aforementioned authority in order to oversee Pureflow’s proposed issuance of these bonds, which are subject to a whole host of requirements under the federal legislation that authorizes their use.

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The commissioners went on to restock the authority’s membership with an entirely new lineup consisting of county manager Bryan Hagood, Andrea Fleming of the Alamance Chamber of Commerce, the county’s tax administrator Jeremy Akins, its budget and management director Andrea Rollins, Burlington’s economic developer Peter Bishop and assistant city managers Aaron Holland and Preston Mitchell to represent the cities of Graham and Mebane respectively.

Prior to the board’s vote to reestablish the authority, Hagood told the commissioners that this same body had been instrumental in Pureflow’s previous use of industrial revenue bonds. He nevertheless conceded that no other company has availed itself of this form of financing in the two decades since.

County manager Bryan Hagood recommended the names for the 7-member board that would oversee the industrial revenue bonds. Interim county attorney Debra Bechtel is in the background.

“The county authority has existed in the past,” the county manager added. “It appears to us from records that it last met in September of 2000.  But it was successful then, and it led to a partnership between Pureflow and the county.”

Lauren Holt, Pureflow’s chief financial officer, was on hand for Monday’s vote on the authority’s reconstitution.

In a brief interview after the vote, Holt told The Alamance News that she and her colleagues plan to construct a new building “similar in size” to its existing facility on Jay Lane. She added that this building would provide an extra 60,000 to 70,000 square feet of floor space for the fabrication of her company’s purification systems, which Holt noted have been in increasingly high demand since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The same land development company that owns the Pureflow site facing I-85/40, which comprises almost 8 acres, also owns the land behind Jay Lane where the company plans to build an expansion of its manufacturing component. That additional land is two lots, totaling about 12 acres.

Holt declined to provide a price tag for this facility, although she added that it will be one of the details that would be divulged as the newly-reconstituted authority reviews the proposed industrial revenue bonds.

Debra Bechtel, Alamance County’s interim county attorney, told the commissioners that the county won’t ultimately incur any expense if Pureflow chooses to rely on industrial revenue bonds to fund the proposed expansion in Graham. Bechtel added that the county is merely responsible for creating an industrial facilities and pollution control authority to oversee the complex, regulatorily-fraught process that Pureflow would go through in order to issue industrial revenue bonds.

“They cost the county nothing,” she added – “not too many things in this world that costs the county nothing.”

According to Pureflow’s website, the Graham-based company also has operations in several other locations, including Atlanta, Georgia; Clarksburg, Maryland; Greenville, South Carolina; Irving Texas; and Lakeland, Florida.

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