Carmeuse denies $8.7 million expansion in Shenandoah County

Carmeuse Lime & Stone denied Friday that it had plans to expand its operations in Shenandoah County.

Basing its information on a news release from Shenandoah County Administrator Mary Beth Price issued Dec. 22, the Northern Virginia Daily reported Friday that Carmeuse was planning an $8.7 million expansion that would create 67 new jobs in the county and an additional 30 jobs in Frederick County.

The Northern Virginia Daily contacted the Carmeuse administration multiple times Thursday, but did not receive answers to questions asked.

The company’s release Friday quoted part of the Daily’s article regarding the company’s supposed $8.7 million expansion and then stated, “This is not an accurate statement.”

“Carmeuse has no current plans to significantly expand its operation in northern Virginia, but we do continually invest in our operations and spend millions of dollars each year in northern Virginia on capital expenditures,” the release stated.

Carmeuse Senior Vice President of legal, environmental and business development Kevin Whyte said Friday that he did not know where the $8.7 million figure came from.

“I don’t know exactly what that $8.7 million investment is,” Whyte said. “We spend millions of dollars a year investing in our properties in northern Virginia. We spent between 2014 and 2016, I don’t know the exact years, closer to a $100 million. We had a huge expansion in Winchester.

“That 8.7 — I mean, I think there are years where we spend just that much money on the plants, you know, in the regular, normal routine capital expenditures.”

Whyte also apologized for not responding to requests for comment, and said that the operations manager “just wasn’t available” Thursday.

“Where we thought that the article was inaccurate, when our people read the article, the problem we had with it was it sounded like there was some new expansion focused at Strasburg, and I just don’t think that that’s not quite right,” Whyte said.

According to a letter from Timothy Stuller, vice president of Virginia Economic Development Parternship,  to Sue Counts, regional human resources manager with Carmeuse, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) approved Carmeuse for its Virginia Jobs Investment Program on Dec. 14.

Under the program,  VEDP would provide human resource consulting services and financial reimbursements for each new full-time Virginia job created by Carmeuse after Feb. 2, 2016.

A copy of the letter was provided by Price to the Northern Virginia Daily. Price also provided a statement in her weekly memo that read, “Carmeuse’s expansion includes $8.7 million in investment and marks the 2nd economic development announcement in 2 months for Shenandoah County.”

In its news release, Carmeuse acknowledged the VEDP grant and that it received money for new jobs added in Virginia, but did not cite the figure of 67 new jobs in Price’s release.

“The employee job training grants are tied to the number of new employees hired; so, if no new employees are hired, no money is received,” the release stated. “The grant application lists the approximate number of new employees that would be hired starting in 2015 and for several years going forward.

“The number of new employees we have hired in Virginia since 2015 is 35, and that includes vacant positions in addition to several new positions that were created since 2015.”