Hearings set tonight on incentives

First Posted: 9/16/2009

Citizens have a chance to comment on two incentives packages tonight which could bring 250 new jobs to Mount Airy.
Meanwhile, the recruitment process for a third company that would hire 45 workers approved for a $472,178 incentives package on Sept. 3 is moving along, a city official said Thursday.
None of the three industries targeted for incentives have been identified.
Two separate public hearings are scheduled today at the Municipal Building during a 7 p.m. meeting of the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners. The hearings are a legal formality since public funds are involved in the incentives.
One of the hearings will allow citizens to comment on a plan to provide $58,000 in incentives to a company that proposes to hire 221 workers. Since it would occupy an existing building, no land or development costs are involved, unlike the package approved earlier.
The $58,000 figure is based on a rebate of property taxes to be paid by the manufacturer over a five-year period, with the estimated value of the incentive based on the personal property and machinery it would add to the local tax base. The company would make an investment in the $3 million range, City Manager Don Brookshire has said.
The other hearing will address an incentive proposal of $19,000 to $77,200 for another company eyeing an existing building in town as well, which would hire 30 people. That package also is based on a rebate of annual property taxes to be paid by the industry for a five-year period.
Brookshire said the $58,200 difference in the total cost of the package is based on the range of value for the personal property and machinery that the industry would add to the tax base.
The locations of the existing buildings eyed by the two unnamed industries have not been disclosed.
Mayor Jack Loftis said at least one of the companies is extremely anxious to get started, and were ready for them to go.
Loftis added Thursday that he believes tonights public hearings wont be as controversial as one held earlier this month before the $472,178 incentive package was approved for a company proposing to construct a manufacturing facility in Piedmont Triad West Corporate Park.
He pointed out that only tax incentives and no land are involved with the two projects to be discussed tonight. The company that was the subject of the earlier hearing would receive 10 acres in the industrial park, which would revert back to the city if that manufacturer did not meet the jobs and financial investment conditions specified.
It would pay an average wage of $13.26 per hour, not counting management personnel, and make a total investment of up to $6 million, the city manager has said.
While some speakers at the Sept. 3 public hearing approved of the incentives package for the company considering the industrial park, others criticized the secrecy surrounding it and the idea of incentives themselves. The notion that incentives are unfair to existing businesses that have not received such breaks was cited.
City officials have said that since state incentives also are being offered for the project, state representatives will be the ones to announce the companys move, and identity, if it decides to come here. Mount Airy leaders say they do not want to risk losing further incentives from the state by naming it now.
Since the $472,178 package was approved, the company involved has been notified of that action but not decided if it will build the facility, Loftis said Thursday.
I know that our attorney has been talking with their attorney, the mayor said. The industry, reportedly a well-established company with operations in several states, has requested a couple of date changes and other minor alterations to the proposal, said Loftis, who added that he is hopeful about the outcome.
I think its moving along just fine, hopefully coming to pass in the near future.
Contact Tom Joyce at [email protected] or at 719-1924.

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