Charlotte City Council to weigh Frito-Lay incentives

Charlotte City Council members next week will consider approving tax incentives for a proposed $74 million Charlotte plant expansion by snack-maker Frito-Lay.

The Observer reported this month that the City Council and the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners have already approved the Business Investment Grant in closed session meetings.

Under the agreement, Frito-Lay will be refunded 90 percent of the new property taxes it pays over five years until the total reaches $3.3 million. Slightly more than $2 million is a county grant; the rest is the city’s.

According to Monday’s City Council agenda, Frito-Lay has “conditionally selected” its facility in Southwest Charlotte for an expansion, contingent on approval of the grant. The company is looking to turn the 38-year-old location into a “mega-facility,” with a manufacturing operation and on-site distribution.

The expansion project will create a net of 30 to 35 new jobs by 2018. The facility currently has 563 employees.

The Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners initially voted down the proposal in closed session, but it was approved when it was brought up a second time. Republican Matthew Ridenhour, who voted against the proposal both times, said the company was given an advantage other companies aren’t afforded with the second vote.

Some commissioners also expressed concern about the small number of new jobs being created by Frito-Lay. But some City Council members were concerned the city might lose the entire plant if they turned down the request.

The project does not meet the requirements for state tax incentives because the timeline for creating jobs is more than three years. A portion of the grant must be repaid if Frito-Lay moves the investment from Charlotte within five years after the grant term ends.

County commissioners are set to vote on the grant in open session on March 3, according to the City Council agenda.

Rothacker: 704-358-5170; Twitter: @rickrothacker