Remington Arms refunds incentive money after failing to meet hiring goals

ATHENS, Ala.- A few hundred people in Limestone County are getting a bonus over the next few weeks, paid for with money that was sent back to the county from Remington Arms.

The gun maker in Huntsville hasn't yet met its hiring goals.

"We make all of the Remington pistols here in Huntsville," Larry's Pistol and Pawn owner Larry Barnett said.

There's a hometown pride that's easy to pick up when talking about a Remington 1911.

"We sold several hundred of these last year, we never had one returned," Barnett said.

Pride only goes so far, though. Over the last month, Remington sent back money to some of the same groups who helped bring the gun maker to town five years ago.

Limestone County received a little over $142,161. On Monday, commissioners voted to use the money to give bonuses to around 280 county employees.

"They're to protect the taxpayers. And when you give these incentives like Huntsville, Athens, Limestone County, and the surrounding counties, they need to meet those. We don't just haphazardly decide we're going to have those incentives," Limestone County Commissioner Jason Black said.

Black says Monday's vote means they can give each of the Limestone County employees about a $500 bonus. It's a shot in the arm, but he says that money was meant for Remington to attract and hire new workers. Right now, the gunmaker has about 500 workers on staff, but they promised the city of Huntsville they'd be almost 2,000 strong by the year 2022.

"Some of the major manufacturers have cut their production back as much as 20%. It's not a bad market, it's just not as strong a market as it was," Barnett continued.

Remington refunded about $350,000 to Madison County. The Huntsville plant manufactures the 1911 pistol and the model 783 rifle.

"I think everything is going to work itself out, our economy is going in the right direction," Black continued.

"A gun lasts 100 years, a car never has," Barnett added.

It's now been about a year since Remington filed chapter 11 bankruptcy to save around $700 million. Morgan County also received money back.

WHNT News 19 reached out to Remington to comment for this story. A company spokesperson hasn't yet responded.

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