Hampton Farms project moves forward

Published 11:54 pm Friday, September 10, 2010

JACKSON — The expansion to Hampton Farms in Severn is moving ahead as officials search for more funding for the project.

On Wednesday, the Northampton County Board of Commissioners gave their approval of the Piedmont Natural Gas Pipeline, Construction, Operating and Resale agreement.

The Hampton Farms expansion project entails improvements and additions to existing processing manufacturing facilities and the addition of approximately 42 new full-time employment positions. The estimated $1.92 million project would extend approximately seven miles of eight-inch pipeline spanning from Severn to the Transco Pipeline near Potecasi.

“This operating agreement has been through several generations of being put together at various levels,” said Northampton County Economic Commission Director Gary Brown who presented the document. “We believe what we have before you today is an agreement that is solid, that protects the interests of Northampton County and provides the service we intend to provide to Hampton Farms.”

The 40-year agreement includes stipulations that in the interim Piedmont Natural Gas will be able to purchase the pipeline and take it under their ownership. Brown said there are also provisions in the document that provide for Piedmont’s operation of the pipeline while it would remain in the county’s ownership.

“We are continuing to secure funding for the project,” said Brown. “Mike Scott (CDGB program administrator) and I are working diligently to close the gap on funding for the project.”

Funds from the Community Block Grant-Economic Development program and the Industrial Development Fund totaling $1.13 million have already been secured.

Commission Vice Chair James Hester asked Brown if the residents near the gas line could tap into it.

Brown said there were provisions that would allow nearby citizens to utilize the line.

“It (the property) has to be in reasonable proximity to the line such as it is cost effective to make that connection,” Brown added.

Commission Chair Fannie Greene asked Brown if he was seeking funds from the Department of Commerce.

Brown responded that through the Department of Commerce funds had already been secured through CDGB. He added that they are currently in conversations with the North Carolina Economic Development Rural Center.

Commissioner Robert Carter asked how much is needed to round out the funds for the project. 

Brown said another $800,000.

“But you will not come to Northampton County for it,” questioned Carter.

“I read you loud and clear,” said Brown.

Commissioner Virginia Spruill offered a motion to approved the Piedmont Natural Gas Pipeline, Construction, Operating and Resale agreement.

“Can I ask you to add to that motion?” said Carter. “We approve it with the understanding that Northampton County taxpayers will not billed for that.”

“So added,” she responded.

Carter offered a second to the motion and it passed in a 4-0 vote with Commissioner Chester Deloatch absent from the meeting.