Piper To Stay Says Vero Official

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The chairman of the Indian River County Commission, Gary Wheeler, says a deal is all but sealed to keep Piper Aircraft in Vero Beach. Wheeler said the commission will vote Jan. 15 on a $12 million incentive package, which, if approved as expected, will be enough to keep the planemaker and its 1,100 existing and 500 future employees in the resort community. "Everything's ironed out and ready for approval for the county commission," Wheeler told The Palm Beach Post. Piper officials have not confirmed that the company is staying. Piper announced in late 2006 that it was shopping for a new location (or a new deal) to take advantage of incentives that are commonly doled out by communities interested in having airplane factories in their midst. The announcement came with the introduction of the PiperJet, which will require its own factory and another 500 workers. The company narrowed down its search to Vero Beach, Albuquerque and Oklahoma City. Wheeler said the local incentive package and the cost of relocating or training employees for a new factory combined to make the economic case for staying in Vero Beach. There's no word on when an official announcement will be made.