Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Indian River County commissioners phase out $8 million Piper Aircraft incentive package

By Henry A. Stephens
Posted September 18, 2012 at 1:48 p.m.

VERO BEACH — Indian River County commissioners Tuesday phased out an incentive package that would have given $8 million to Piper Aircraft Inc. for remaining in the city, employing more than 1,000 workers and making Piper Altaire jets .

"This is nothing more than a bookkeeping matter," county Commissioner Peter O'Bryan said.

O'Bryan, the commission's economic-development liaison, won a 5-0 vote on his motion to move the $8 million from the incentive fund back to the unrestricted reserves, where County Administrator Joe Baird said it would be treated as cash.

The commission in 2008 agreed to pay up to $12 million to Piper, and then-Gov. Charlie Crist's administration agreed to pay $20 million, in installments through 2016 if Piper would meet payroll and jobs benchmarks.

The company in 2008 employed 1,014 people, qualifying for the first $4 million from the county and $6.7 million from the state, but laid off enough people by the following summer to drop to 580 workers, below the county's requirements.

Piper officials in December, citing the global economic downturn, said they wouldn't be seeking the rest of the incentive package.

Source:   http://www.tcpalm.com

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