On Thursday, August 4, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners is holding a public hearing to get input on an economic development incentive grant request of $41,630 for IQE Inc. The stated purpose of giving taxpayer money to the company is to help convince corporate leaders to develop a facility expected to generate about $7 million in capital investment and create 31 new full-time jobs in the area.

IQE makes an item in high demand these days – semi-conductors. The company also makes other products that serve cell phone markets, the aerospace industry and 5G networking infrastructure markets among others.

The company is headquartered in the United Kingdom and has a presence in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and Greensboro as well as other places.

The commissioners’ meeting agenda for Thursday night reads, “One of the sites being considered is located within Guilford County.”

In almost all economic incentives cases, that language means the company has already chosen Guilford County but would like to pick up a little money on the way in.

In the last decade and a half, the county commissioners have rarely met an economic incentive proposal that they did not like – Republicans and Democrats alike almost always vote to approve.

North Carolina General Statutes require that the county conduct a public hearing before approving an economic development incentive; however, before the projects reach the board, there’s already been a lot of negotiating going on.

One set of questions that almost always gets asked by the commissioners has to do with the number of minority employees the company has and the number of minorities in management. Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston and other commissioners have been making an effort to engage the county more with minority contractors – and the commissioners also want to know how well new and expanding companies in the county are doing in that regard when they are asking for money.