EXTRA Deal At Montrose In Jeopardy

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EXTRA Aircraft had plans to establish a new U.S. headquarters in Montrose, Colo., but county officials now say they can't follow through on financial incentives, and that's thrown the plan into a holding pattern along with up to 200 potential jobs. The manufacturer builds high-performance aerobatic planes and a high-wing, single-engine turboprop. EXTRA had been promised cash incentives by the local Montrose Economic Development Corporation. But the deal apparently violates the state's constitution. Montrose County Manager Jesse Smith recently told local news "we cannot provide cash incentives to any outside for-profit organization." The revelation reportedly came as the result of a "due diligence" study that has so far postponed EXTRA's plans by two months. A conclusion to the drama hasn't yet been reached as local officials scramble to strike a new deal. But residents who had hoped the manufacturer would have already been hiring by now have turned their anger toward their local government.

EXTRA's arrival would have brought at least some relief to the region's near-10-percent unemployment rate. One resident was quoted by local news, expressing his displeasure at a town meeting. "You find the people that are responsible for their stupidity and you fire them or else, if you don't have the guts to fire them, then you quit," he said. Officials are considering options that could include rebates on personal property taxes, land on the airport and building the facility for EXTRA. But no official strategies have been made public. Officials and locals are fearful that further delay will lead the aircraft manufacturer to seek a more fiscally accommodating state.