County Backs Economic Designation for Robbins
The Moore County Board of Commissioners has gone to bat for the town of Robbins with adoption of a resolution supporting the town’s economic designation.
Adopted at the March 1 meeting, the resolution backs the initiative to designate Robbins as a HUBZone, enabling the municipality to market itself for businesses locating in North Carolina through BRAC. HUB stands for Historically Underutilized Businesses.
The county’s action comes on the heels of a Feb. 24 promotional effort in which Congressman Howard Coble and state Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco visited Robbins and toured industrial plants, including the American Growler facility where combat vehicles are produced for the Marine Corps.
“Coble and Crisco are both 100 percent on board for this,” said Commissioner Craig Kennedy, who made the motion to adopt the resolution.
County Attorney Misty Leland crafted the resolution, which expresses endorsement of concessions “to grant any federal and/or state economic designations for the town of Robbins that will increase the town’s attractiveness and competitiveness in recruiting new businesses, facilitating expansions and fostering entrepreneurial activity, and consequently enable the town to improve its economic circumstances.”
Under BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure), Fort Bragg is undergoing a major expansion, and the growth is expected to impact surrounding counties, including Moore.
Because of economic setbacks, Robbins has lost 710 jobs since 2000, according to the 2005-09 American Community Survey. That loss represents 31 percent of the total job losses in Moore County.
The Small Business Administration uses American Community Survey data to determine HUBZone certification. The survey assigned a 35.9 percent poverty rate to the Robbins census area, and the poverty rate threshold level for HUBZone certification is 25 percent.
Although the town’s 1,279 population represents only 1.5 percent of the county’s total population, the loss of 710 jobs since 2000 accounts for 31.4 percent of all job losses in the county, according to the resolution. Most of the jobs lost were in the manufacturing sector.
The resolution further says that despite its non-metropolitan category, Moore County has never statistically qualified for any advantageous economic designations, such as a Tier I status with the N.C. Department of Commerce or as a HUBZone with the Small Business Administration.
“Such designations signify areas of evident economic distress and are designed to encourage economic activity in these less prosperous areas,” the resolution says.
County leaders have long complained that communities outside the densely populated resort areas have suffered when it comes to distribution of economic development funds because of the relatively high per capita income of the tourism center.
The resolution also calls attention to this in the opening paragraph that says, in part, that Robbins in the rural northwestern part of the county, “is distinctly removed geographically and economically from the thriving industrial, commercial and tourism hubs of Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen in southern Moore County.”
Contact Florence Gilkeson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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