Wed, Jan 04, 2012
They Voted 'Yes' Without Knowing Company's Name
As evidenced by what could be a developing bidding war among
municipalities to become the new home for Kestrel Aircraft,
economic development has become a dog-eat-dog sport. To discourage
poaching, the Horry County Council in South Carolina considered a
motion to approve economic incentives for a company identified only
by a code name. Now that the incentives have been approved, and the
company's actual name has been revealed, some councilors who voted
in favor wish they could reconsider.
The reason is that they already approved over a million dollars
in incentives to AvCraft Support Services back in 2004, on the
premise the company would create 80 new jobs. Only about 50 new
jobs reportedly resulted. To be fair, any expansion of an aviation
maintenance company in the economic environment of the past five
years could be considered remarkable. Brad Lofton, a Myrtle Beach
economic development official, notes some job creation is better
than no job creation.
AvCraft collected about $500,000 of the incentives promised at
the time, for which Lofton observes, "They’re growing.
They’re working on new contracts. We’re confident in
their new leadership team."
The company reorganized in 2010 as AvCraft Technical Services,
and the new promise is 150 jobs in a five-year expansion as a
return on a $200,000 incentive, with half coming from the state and
half from the county. SCnow.com reports that the new
company’s president, Mike Hill, also worked for the previous
Councilman Carl Schwartzkopf tells SCnow.com, "You still have to
think about the history of the organization, where they've been
what they've done in the past, and the likelihood of it probably
happening again in the future. I just think it would have been
important for the council members to have more information than
what they've received in the past."
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