New economic incentives could bring more jobs to Wilmington
At it’s Tuesday night meeting, Wilmington City Council passed a motion to continue four public hearings items to its March 1 meeting. Each item would provide economic development incentives to businesses looking to expand or locate in Wilmington.
According to City Manager Tony Caudle, a "snafu" with the legally required posting for the public hearings will require the city to hold them open until its March 1 council meeting (the actual resolutions submitted as supporting documents prior to the meeting listed that date, not Tuesday's date of February 15).
The city is considering offering four business development grants — companies would receive money, but only if they provide a certain number of full-time jobs, with average salaries ranging from $62,000 dollars to $131,000 dollars.
Each business is requesting a different grant amount based on the number of jobs, average salaries, location, and property investment planned within city limits (and in one case 'the region').
Mayor Bill Saffo opened the floor for comments, and Madam Clerk Penny Spicer-Sidbury read a letter from former City Councilman Kevin O’Grady, who objected to the lack of detail in the presentations.
O'Grady's letter read in part: “The city’s taxpayers have a right to know the economic incentives will bring benefits to the city and often to the citizens. Provision that the incentive agreements will provide a schedule of employment goals does not guarantee the economic equity goals of the city."
O’Grady’s letter noted that these concerns came out of a previous incentive approved by the city for National Gypsum.
Because the state of North Carolina is also considered issuing grants, the names of the companies have not yet been released. In addition, the county will also consider incentives at its upcoming Monday meeting.