Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.
More incentives and a thought to consider
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed two resolutions after a closed meeting. The resolutions offer incentives to two companies. I am working on a story about the two proposals. For 2009, the supervisors offered four different incentive packages to four different companies, in an effort to bring higher-paying jobs to the county. But today this thought popped into my head: These offers were only discussed in closed session. The resolutions are vague, only saying what the company must do to get the incentives and what the county offers. No type of business. No possible location. Nothing.
If any of these companies accept the incentives, the Economic Development Department leaves it to the business to announce its plans to the public. Some do. Some don’t. So, it could be difficult to figure out what company actually got these incentives if the company does not announce its plans to come here. A Freedom of Information Act is a sure way to get public records, but you wouldn’t know when to file the request because you don’t know when the companies will accept the offers, if ever.
Let’s hope that if any of these four businesses accept the incentives, that either members of the Board of Supervisors or staff in Economic Development make a public announcement that "so and so" company accepted the incentive package and "so and so" company plans to start building immediately. When public funds, such as tax incentives, are used to lure business, the county might want to get into the practice of making a public announcement when a company does decide to take the county’s offer.
One of the companies is a Fortune 50 health care products distributor, so that might be an easy one to figure out. The rest seem much smaller.