There are a good deal of aerospace companies currently interested in the 1,000-acre megasite at Piedmont Triad International Airport (PTIA), and, at the Guilford County Board of Commissioners’ Thursday, April 20 meeting, the board approved over $300,000 in incentives to bring one of those companies – Marshall USA LLC – to the site.

At the meeting, the Board of Commissioners held a public hearing – as is required by NC General Statutes – to consider the proposed economic development incentives package.

The hearing was very brief and Greensboro Chamber of Commerce Executive Vice President Marvin Price did almost all of the talking.  Price encouraged the commissioners to approve the proposed allocation of $308,879, as well as approve the acceptance of $124,000 in grant money from a local matching utility fund.

Information from Marshall stated that the incentives would be used “to support construction of a new maintenance facility location expected to generate approximately $50 million in capital investment and 240 new full-time jobs.”

It added that the company is “considering a site at the Piedmont Triad International Airport, in addition to other options within the United States. The company is also requesting state and other local incentives before making a decision. The local approval of incentives does not commit the company to locate in North Carolina.”

Price said that average wage for the new jobs would be over $73,000 a year and that none of the jobs would pay under $15 an hour.

Company executives were present in the meeting room and online to answer questions, but they weren’t needed.

Marshall is a family-owned business headquartered in the United Kingdom that specializes in the modification, maintenance and repair of C-130 planes widely used by the US military.

About 15 years ago, the Guilford County commissioners used to constantly have vigorous debates over incentives requests, however, these days they are usually approved with little discussion on a unanimous vote.  At some point over the years both Republican and Democratic commissioners alike just accepted that “This is how the game is played.”

The board’s decision may not commit the company to coming to Guilford County, however, the vote to approve the incentives makes it almost a certainty that Marshall will locate at PTIA.

By the time an incentives package gets before the Board of Commissioners for a vote, the companies have already made the decision to locate in Guilford County.  The incentives package is presented as an enticement for the company to come to the county and, therefore, companies have to pretend as though they are still considering other locations for projects until the incentives are officially approved. The Rhino Times cannot remember one case of the Board of Commissioners approving an incentives package and that company subsequently choosing to locate elsewhere.