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Md. company gets help to build concrete plant in W.Va.

January 06, 2006|by ROBERT SNYDER

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - A Maryland company got a boost this week following a vote by the Berkeley County Commission to issue bonds to finance the construction of a new concrete plant outside Martinsburg.

Commissioners approved a resolution authorizing the release of $3 million in Industrial Development Revenue Bonds to Thomas, Bennett & Hunter Inc. following a public hearing in commission chambers Thursday.

The bond funds will be used to construct and equip a new concrete batch manufacturing plant being developed at Shuman Boulevard, company legal counsel Vincent Collins told commissioners ahead of the 2-0 vote to approve the resolution.

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Commission President Steve Teufel was absent from Thursday's meeting.

TBH President Kevin Beaver said the company is expanding into the Eastern Panhandle to improve service in the area, adding hauling concrete over long distances is inefficient.

"Our customers have been begging us, 'you have to come down here,'" Beaver said in an interview after the resolution approval. "You want to be in the community where you're providing the service."

The company operates plants in the Maryland counties of Carroll, Frederick and Washington, Beaver said.

Commissioner Howard Strauss praised the company's expansion into Berkeley County, calling it a move that will create jobs and improve the county's tax base.

About a dozen workers are employed at the new plant, but plans are in place to expand, Beaver said.

"I think we'll be close to 20 by summer, once the season peaks and demand is where it's expected to be," he said.

The commission preliminarily approved the bond issue at an earlier meeting in October.

The issuance of IDRBs brings no risk to the county and also does not diminish the county's ability to issue other bonds, Collins said, adding such securities are the responsibility of the borrower, not the issuer.

"The county commission is issuing the bonds, but it's not responsible for repayment," Collins said.

Having the county act as a conduit for the funding allows the company to benefit from tax-exempt, low-cost financing which it would have been unable to obtain if it approached a lender directly, he said.

"It's a significant savings over a period of time," Collins said.

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