Piper Declines Potential $76 Million Incentive

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The key word is "potential". A $76 million incentive package offered to Piper Aircraft to keep the airplane maker in Vero Beach, Fla., the company's current headquarters and a possible manufacturing facility for the PiperJet, was tied to a countywide referendum, stimulating public conflict and stifling the company's interest in the plan. Piper management used a full page ad in Thursday's Vero Beach Press Journal to state its position: "We do not wish to subject the employees of Piper to the uncertainty of a highly controversial public political process related to the overall economic development efforts in Vero Beach and Indian River County." Other financial considerations factored into the mix. The ad went on to state that the proposed referendum would require payment of more than $100 million in rent over 30 years, in exchange for $23 million in incentives and was, therefore, "not financially compelling." Efforts to retain the employment that Piper provides and potential employment from the proposed single-engine PiperJet design are in the works.

"Our local government officials are determined to make this work by developing a mutually beneficial long-term partnership with Piper Aircraft and its workforce team," Helene Caseltine, economic development director at the Indian River County Chamber of Commerce, told TCPalm.com. Albuquerque, N.M., and Oklahoma City are also in contention as possible locations for Piper to set up shop. Descr: Piper Aircraft turns down Vero Beach's $76.5 million incentive package to keep the airplane maker in the Florida town.