It must be win-win situationPublished 9:12pm Monday, February 25, 2013
Perhaps it’s a sign the economy is improving that Beaufort County and the City of Washington are being asked to lend their support to efforts seeking grant funding to expand existing businesses or locate new ones in the county.
The Project Blue Goose and Oak Ridge Metal Works opportunities come to mind.
Beaufort County needs all the new jobs it can get. Even if some of those “new” jobs go to people who have recently been laid off, that means some people who have been out of work will be back on the job. Many of these grants being used to help create these jobs provide a specific amount of funding for each job expected to be created. These grants also carry other conditions that could place local governments in the position of repaying some, or all, of the grant funding.
Sometimes, the availability of such grants doesn’t result in new jobs.
Last month, Weir Valves announcement that it will close in March and lay off about 60 people comes less than a year after it led city officials and others it was poised to renovate and bring new jobs to the area. That development is a disappointment.
As we warned in January, although Beaufort County and Washington needs jobs, any local government helping create new jobs should put itself in a position so it does not have to repay any grant funds because grant conditions were not met by the company that’s supposed to create the jobs.
With a rare exception or two, taxpayers should never be on the hook when a private enterprise fails.
So, when it comes to a new business seeking to locate in the county or an existing industry wanting to expand in the county with help from local governments, the elected officials must make sure that taxpayers benefit as well as the business or industry seeking incentives that would benefit them.
It must be a win-win situation.