Voters May Decide “Piper Town’s” Fate


Vero Beach and Indian River County voters may have the final say on whether Piper Aircraft stays in the community. On May 8, city and county officials agreed to split a $50 million incentive package aimed at keeping the aircraft manufacturer in town and building its PiperJet factory there. But it would appear the civic governments are leaning toward a vote on the package. “I would say we have to put this in front of the voters as a referendum,” Vero Beach Mayor Tom White told “It’s important to get community support behind this.” But while hes high on voter involvement, White said he was less enthused about one officials suggestion to change the airports name to “Piper Town.” Regardless of what they call the place, it will be in tough competition against Albuquerque, N.M. Columbia, S.C. Oklahoma City, Okla. and Tallahassee, Fla., all of which are offering incentives to lure the PiperJet plant. Just to make things more interesting, the state of Florida is considering putting up $20 million, but it will give it to either Vero Beach or Tallahassee. Piper says its relocation consultants havent received the local bid from Vero Beach yet and it wont comment until they do.