Bencini calls for overhaul of incentives policy
A $400,000 grant commissioners approved last week for TIMCO’s expansion at Piedmont Triad International Airport could be the first of a new kind of county incentive.
Republican Commissioner Bill Bencini of High Point wants the Guilford County Board of Commissioners to revise the incentives policy to fit the conditions commissioners approved for the grant. Bencini was in the 5-4 minority on the grant approval vote. The grant is part of a $6.8 million incentives package for site work for two new TIMCO hangars at the airport.
“We should work on the policy before we go forward,” Bencini said during a public hearing. “We should not rush something like this.”
Other Republicans voting against the grant were Jeff Phillips, Hank Henning of Jamestown and Alan Branson. Chairwoman Linda Shaw, a Greensboro Republican, joined Democratic Commissioners Bruce Davis of High Point, Carolyn Coleman, Kay Cashion and Ray Trapp to approve the grant.
Bencini was concerned because the contract lacked a performance clause and the deal offered no capital investment to tax to repay the grant. The county will pay the money to PTIA if TIMCO creates 400 jobs over five years.
“This kind of incentive is not covered by our policy,” Bencini said. “I have no problem doing this, but our policy does not provide for it.”
Grant repayment usually comes from property taxes on the increased value of improved property. Because Piedmont Triad Airport Authority pays no property taxes, the county can not benefit from the full $32 million expansion.
County Attorney Mark Payne said a policy review would start with him.
“This is an indirect payment for economic development. It is permissible,” Payne said. “We can look at these issues for the future.”
“We should also look at our incentives for small business too,” said Democratic Commissioner Kay Cashion. “It has not been used very much.”
Jobs: The Guilford County’s job incentive policy pays as much as $1,000 per job if the wages paid by a firm are at least 15 percent above the local average wage rate.