As the N.C. Department of Commerce reviews grants once approved by the troubled N.C. Rural Economic Development Center, the Commerce officials would do folks in Rocky Mount and elsewhere a world of good by spelling out their process and timetable.
Grants that already were approved by the Rural Center include a $91,000 incentive for PenCell Plastics, a company on English Road that has plans to expand in the next two years, adding 20 jobs in the process.
A report from the N.C. State Auditor’s office and subsequent investigations have called into question some of the grants and oversight procedures employed by the Rural Center for other companies and local governments.
The state understandably wants to review new grants to make sure public money is being spent properly.
But that puts a company like PenCell in a waiting game. The Rural Center’s board of directors approved the grant for PenCell in June. In an area as economically strapped as the Twin Counties, expansions of existing industries herald good news for the unemployed.
Since the Department of Commerce has assumed oversight of the grant money, officials there could offer some anxiety relief by spelling out the review procedures and setting a timetable so that companies like PenCell can plan accordingly.
Poor decision-making on the part of the Rural Center led to this situation. But watching good companies like PenCell suffer because of previous mistakes is a real shame in the parts of North Carolina that need help the most.