Buncombe County to consider domestic violence plan; incentives for BorgWarner

Buncombe County is set to unveil a plan to curb domestic violence as well as give BorgWarner $1.92 million in grants to help the company expand local operations.

A partnership between Buncombe County government, law enforcement and nonprofit agencies, the domestic violence plan could help reduce incidents of violence and homocide. In Buncombe County, there were 752 domestic violence arrests in 2012 and in 2013 there were five deaths.

A letter to Buncombe County’s delegation in the N.C. General Assembly asks legislators to add the county to a handful of others across the state that are authorized to create a Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team. The letter was signed by Sheriff Van Duncan, Asheville Police Chief William Anderson, and District Attorney Ron Moore.

Details of the effort will be announced Tuesday, May 13, at a special 2 p.m. press conference to be held at 200 College Street. Commissioner Holly Jones, who has long advocated for the county to take action, will speak, as well as former judge Rebecca Knight, Helpmate Executive Director Hope Burgess-Johnson and Duncan. Later that day, the full board of commissioners will consider the initiative during a regularly scheduled meeting.

In addition, commissioners will consider a request by BorgWarner for $1.92 million in economic development incentive grants. In exchange, the turbo engine producer would agree to hire 154 new local workers and invest $55 million at its Arden facility at 1849 Brevard Road. The tentative agreement stipulates that the new jobs would pay an average annual wage of $74,571, excluding benefits.

BorgWarner’s facility in Arden opened in 1977 and currently employs over 650 full-time workers. The company is based in Michigan and operates 60 plants in 19 countries. The local expansion will help meet growing demand for its turbocharging engine systems, which are used in a range of vehicles, from commercial trucks and off-highway equipment to high-performance race cars.

“As demand for our world-leading turbocharging technologies escalates, BorgWarner will continue to leverage the strong and talented local labor pool,” said Frédéric Lissalde, President and General Manager, BorgWarner Turbo Systems, in a press release. “We are excited about our business prospects and look forward to working with North Carolina and Buncombe County to enhance the local economy.”

In the press release, board of commissioners Chair David Gantt hints that the county is likely to approve the incentive deal. “It’s the great companies based in Buncombe County like BorgWarner, utilizing our highly skilled workforce, that keep our region on the leading-edge of manufacturing technologies,” he says.

The board will meet at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 13, in the commissioner’s chambers, located at 200 College Street, suite 326. A short pre-meeting review of the agenda will begin at 4:15 p.m.

About Jake Frankel
Jake Frankel is an award-winning journalist who enjoys covering a wide range of topics, from politics and government to business, education and entertainment.

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