WJ commits $615,000 to GE expansion

Dylan Lightfoot Staff Writer

October 16, 2013

The West Jefferson Board of Aldermen in a special session today unanimously approved a resolution to commit $615,000 in matching incentives for an N.C. Rural Center grant to assist with the expansion of the GE Aviation facility.

“The county wanted the town to take the lead in the Rural Center grant, due to them not having a county manager,” said Town Manager Brantley Price.

On June 3, the West Jefferson Board of Aldermen and the Ashe County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a joint $1.2 million local government incentive package to help GE with an 80,000-square-foot expansion of its Ray Taylor Road facility. The commissioners committed $585,000, with West Jefferson funding the balance of $615,000.

Another $350,000 in incentives is promised by Ashe County Job Development Inc., with an additional $500,000 coming from a Rural Center Building Reuse and Restoration Fund grant already earmarked for the project.

ACJD board member Chris Robinson, who attended today’s meeting, said, “With the timeliness issue of getting the grant submitted…without a manager…it seemed appropriate to keep that moving along with someone like Brantley in control of the rudder.”

“The building reuse grant says there’s a five percent match required. But, where the town has already agreed to do a $615,000 incentive agreement with GE, the Rural Center will let us use that as our match so there will not be a cash match along with it,” said Price.

The board’s resolution today formally committed town funds to the expansion project, and authorized Mayor Dale Baldwin to file the grant application.

The GE expansion is projected to create over 100 jobs in Ashe County, and generate $56 million in taxable capital investment over the next five years, according to a press release by the governor’s office announcing the incentive.