By John Peters
September 4, 2013
Last night the Surry County Board of Commissioners approved financial incentives for two firms looking to either locate in Surry County, or expand here.
The first was an incentive grant of up to $109,782, spread out over five years in the form of property tax refunds, for a company known covertly as Project Stretch. That is a public, working title for the project, but county and economic officials are keeping the actual identity of the company a secret for now.
In exchange for the promise of that incentive, the company promises to invest $6.5 million locally by Jan. 1, 2016, and create an expected 55 fulltime jobs by Jan. 1, 2018.
The second, Project Hops, is an incentive package of up to $11,000 over five years, for a company expected to invest at least $677,000 locally and create two fulltime jobs.
While we generally think the county's residents are ill-served by making decisions in secret, in the case of considering financial incentives we understand local governing bodies sometimes need to keep the identity of firms looking at the area private.
And we think the commissioners did the right thing last night in granting the incentives, especially in the case of Project Stretch. As Surry County Economic Development Partnership President Todd Tucker said, this is not only about bringing 55 new jobs to the area, it is about retaining 50 jobs the firm already has here. If we lose out on the expansion, there's apparently a good chance all of those jobs will go to wherever the company decides to put those new positions.
Offering incentives totaling slightly more than $200,000, spread out over five years, to land nearly 60 new jobs seems like a good investment for the county.