Is New Piper Ready For A Move?
A story in TCPalm.com on Wednesday said local officials are concerned that New Piper Aircraft might be weighing offers to move out of Vero Beach, Fla. "We've all heard the rumors, and at this point it's time to get a hold of [New Piper CEO Jim] Bass," County Commission Chairman Gary Wheeler told TCPalm. New Piper spokesman Mark Miller told AVweb on Wednesday afternoon that those concerns have been "blown out of proportion." Officials from other counties in Florida and other states have expressed an interest in wooing the company's PiperJet production facility, he said, but the company is not out there looking for offers. "Would I say we would never leave Florida? No, but we don't have any agenda or mandate to move." He said the company hasn't decided yet where it will build the PiperJet, and no decision is imminent. After last year's hurricanes, the company's annual property insurance costs rose from about $400,000 a year to almost $5 million, Miller said. Property taxes went up about 50 percent, from $149,465 in 2005 to $233,914 in 2006, according to TCPalm. The company has had a presence in the Vero Beach area for about 50 years.