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Sanderson Farms sends Nash County $1 million

Sanderson Farms has sent a reimbursement check to Nash County government for $1,000,389.22, officials announced Friday.

The money is intended as compensation for costs incurred in attempts to located a chicken processing facility in Nash County, officials said.

The reimbursement was received in a letter from Bob Billingsley, director of development and engineering for Sanderson Farms.

The money is intended to replenish Nash County and Carolinas Gateway Partnership funds used for legal and consulting fees to lure the new industry, attempts that were ultimately unsuccessful.

Sanderson Farms officials announced in November their decision to abandon plans to open a large-scale chicken processing plant in Nash County on N.C. 97 just north of the Wilson County line.

Bob Billingsley, Sanderson’s director of development, has said the company’s decision was related to the ongoing legal challenges that did not allow Nash County leaders to meet Sanderson’s project schedule without the possibility of delay.

"Being reimbursed for our legal fees and other project costs was not the outcome we had hoped for,” Nash County Commissioner Robbie Davis said in a written statement. "However, it makes the bitter pill of having lost the plant easier to swallow. This gesture is just another example of what a great company Sanderson Farms is and what an exemplary corporate citizen they would have been in Nash County.”

The city of Wilson had previously launched several lawsuits directed toward the Sanderson project due to concerns about area water supplies. City leaders joined with residents opposed to the plant who lived near the proposed site.

The Sanderson Farms project — more than two years in the making — has been embroiled in controversy because of health, environment and quality-of-life concerns but equally supported by Nash-area officials due to the economic boost the project could bring to the region.

"This reimbursement is great news for Nash County taxpayers,” Frank Harrison, chairman of the board for the Carolinas Gateway Partnership, said in a statement. "But it pales in comparison to the benefits that the actual Sanderson plant could have provided not just for Nash County, but for our entire region.”

Wilson Mayor Pro-Tem James Johnson III said he’s happy some of the taxpayers are being reimbursed.

"Our concern all along was the water,” Johnson said.

The city was particularly concerned about the unregulated proliferation of factory chicken farms and the waste they would produce, Johnson said.

"Hopefully our state will step up to the plate and other cities won’t have to suffer a loss like the city of Wilson has money-wise,” Johnson added.

Sanderson officials have walked a fine line trying to balance company interests in expanding the corporation while keeping distance from local concerns. The project has been surrounded by three lawsuits, all designed to challenge the Sanderson project. And even though Nash County has won each lawsuit, Sanderson officials still made a decision to pull out.

Two prominent farmers had also sued, asking the courts to make Nash County’s purchase of 145 acres for the project void because the county bought the land without holding a public hearing.

The planned 185,000-square-foot processing plant was promised to create 1,100 jobs and a company investment of $95 million. Project supporters touted the significant economic impact of the project for a region suffering from chronic double-digit unemployment.

Mike Cockrell, Sanderson’s chief financial officer, did not say where the company would seek to locate its next plant.

Sanderson Farms has previously considered other areas of the state, including Wayne County, where an incentive draft was prepared but later removed when the company decided in 2011 to put the project on hold. The majority of the company’s work has been in Nash County where tests have been performed on the proposed plant site on N.C. 97 and property purchased for a hatchery.
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happy said...

I'm a proud Wilson resident and our city did the right thing and our mayor should be commended. As far as the other rants: The Wilson people are as much to blame for unemployment as anyone. There are jobs in Wilson right now...only problem no one has been able to meet the requirements of eduction and experience. My company hired out last few engineers from other cities. New businesses have located in Wilson and are continuing to look at our city. Our electric rates are high but it was a bad move on all cities participating in the coop. Wilson elected officials have little power over the co-op. Senators have been involved and we've seen little progress.
And who else should we have elected? Did you actually see the candidates running against our current candidates??? Talk about electing "idiots"!
I eat chicken, pork, steak, vegetables, etc. etc every week but that does not mean I want chickens, pigs, cows and a garden in my backyard. That analogy is not even a plausible one.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 9:49 AM
to wonder who said...

no one is going to reimburse you for reading my negative crap. if you dont like it dont read it. what are you a glutton for punishement? oh, yes i forgot you and most of the electorate of wilson who keep putting the same idiots back in office election after election are a bunch of sado- masochistic guttons for punisment who like high unemployment, utility bills and arrogant assinine elected public and appointed officials.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 10:14 PM
Pit county.. said...

comments are the funniest.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 2:19 PM
@ walmart chicken said...

anyone of our wilson idiots who opposed this plant should choke on any chicked or any processed meat they shove into their grubby mouths. i bet the ones who voiced their opposition the most are the ones you see at Bills , parkers or other locall eateries stuffing their fat jaws the most. if it was up to imbeciles like this we would all go hungry and broke.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 11:17 AM

The true title of this story should be:
US Taxpayers give “more than $1 million to Nash County” by way of Sanderson - the largest FARM WELFARE RECIPIENT in Kinston, NC.
This hypocrisy and journalism only creates a sympathetic ear to all who feed from the FARM WELFARE bucket of lies.
Sanderson - Thank you for giving back what you have taken from hard working Americans. - Sanderson & Son Farming received payments totaling $4,169,425

Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 11:14 AM
Walmart Chicken said...

In Walmart today, I noticed they switched suppliers and all the chicken was from Sanderson farms.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 6:01 PM To wonder who: said...

Wonder who is going to reimburse me for the lost seconds of my life spent reading your Negative Crap? Wilson's water needed and should have been protected ,and was.I think you either need a hug or spend some time watching Whirligigs when the park opens.Maybe that will help with your negative outlook.

Monday, January 21, 2013 at 6:48 AM I like Sanderson Farm (tongue in cheek) said...

I like SF. If only they made mass produced chickens and not a lot of chicken poop and waste products I would have supported them. I think they will do well in another impoverished town with less informed citizens and more corrupt politicians. If Rocky Mount still wants them then put them straight in the middle of downtown. I am sure the zoning commision will not even have to hold a hearing. There they could surely dumped their refuse into the waterways without recourse.

Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 1:11 PM now its public said...

Glad Sanderson finally came out in public to admit they paid off Nash County to get their votes in help locating a chicken plant in Wilson's watershed. Now we have proof.

Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 8:33 PM Want what in return? said...

Does this "gesture" mean, in 3 months time, Sanderson will announce it has changed its mind and will be locating in Nash after all? I don't trust them. Like Piney rooter said, big companies usually expect something in return.

Every time I drink a glass of tap water, I thank goodness Sanderson did not come to this area.

Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 5:03 PM The Truth said...

But no compensation for Wilson County?

Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 10:33 AM wonder who will reimburse the elected idiots of Wilson said...

for all the money they wasted running good jobs and industry awy. guess. like everything else. electricitiies, greenlight, the lowly taxpayers of wilson and wilson county and the rate payers get left holding the bag. no jobs, higher unemployment rate, more wasted tax dollars. when are you people ever going to wise up and get rid of these long term special interest imbeciles like we finally did wayne gay , the 140 year stranglehold the corrupt ste democrats had on both houses of the state general assembly and a long line of poltical patronage crooked democratic governors?

Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 8:32 AM Rocky Mount is a dump said...

I thnt is a think Rocky Mount is a dump. Take that 1 million and buy some water from Wilson.

Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 8:01 AM Piney rooter said...

Great news that this entire fiasco won't be paid for by Nash Co. Taxpayers. However altruistic Sanderson may seem, Mega Corporations don't give a million dollars away for nothing.I wonder what else they've got up their sleeve.

Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 5:35 AM
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