The Greensboro City Council approved the $1.7 million incentive for Syngenta at a special meeting on Thursday, Jan. 16 in the Council Chamber.

The vote for the incentive was 8 to 1, with Councilmember Michelle Kennedy, who participated in the meeting by phone, casting the lone no vote. Kennedy said that she “deeply valued the presence of Syngenta in the community” and noted that Syngenta had been a big supporter of the nonprofit community, but that she thought there was a better use of the $1.7 million than awarding it to a huge company like Syngenta.

City Councilmember Justin Outling said that a big part of the decision making process for him was to be convinced that “they would not do what they are considering doing but for the incentive” and he said he was convinced that the city, county and state incentive package was a major factor in the decision making process for Syngenta.

Councilmember Tammi Thurm asked City Manager David Parrish to go over how incentives work with an emphasis on the “clawback” provision.

Parrish explained that the money is paid out over a 10-year period only if Syngenta first spends at least $68 million on a facility and continues to employ 650 people at an average wage of $107,000 a year. He said that if Syngenta didn’t meet those conditions there were provisions in the agreement for the city to get the incentive payments back.

The agreement with the city states that Syngenta will make “an investment of at least $68,000,000 in real and personal property at a facility located in the City of Greensboro within a designated Impact Zone on or before December 31, 2023.”

Since the current 70 acre Syngenta campus is not in a “designated Impact Zone” that means that Syngenta is not going to spend $68 million fixing up its current facility, but is going to build new in a “designated Impact Zone” or it will not qualify for the city economic incentive.

Both City Councilmembers Yvonne Johnson and Goldie Wells suggested that northeast Greensboro would be a good location for Syngenta which is a pretty good indication that Syngenta will be locating in the Impact Zone in northeast Greensboro.