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GE moves closer to accepting state, local incentive package

GE Aviation is located off Ray Taylor Road in West Jefferson and could bring more than 100 jobs to the area if the company accepts an incentive package.

Originally published: Jun. 24, 2013
Last modified: Jun. 24, 2013

Adam Orr

The possible addition of more than 100 jobs to GE Aviation’s West Jefferson facility could be drawing closer, according to Ashe County Manager Pat Mitchell on Monday.

“It appears that the state incentives are the last hurdle for this project,” Mitchell said. “I’ve been told by (the North Carolina Department of) Commerce that hopefully they will be decided within the next couple of weeks.”

In a special June 3, joint session, the Ashe County Board of Commissioners and the West Jefferson Board of Aldermen voted to approve a combined $1.2 million local incentive package to assist GE in the expansion of its local facility.

Commissioners approved $585,000 with West Jefferson making up the difference of $615,000.

If finalized by the company, the expansion could result in at least $56 million in taxable investment over the next five years, an 80,000-square-foot facility expansion, and the creation of 105 new jobs. The proposed investment would also allow for increased capacity to assume additional GE machining work.

The new facility would be part of a larger commitment by GE Aviation to invest $195 million across its North Carolina operations through 2017.

The company has added more than 1,300 jobs across sites in Durham, West Jefferson, Wilmington and Asheville.

The 9-year joint board incentive package is based on investment and job creation, with the company meeting certain benchmarks through 2021, according to Mitchell.

Local incentives would be paid between 2014 and 2020, while all of the company’s investment and job creation would occur by the end of 2017, according to the release.

“Basically, we will receive more taxes from the company than what we give them in incentives over the course of the agreement,” Mitchell said. “We have been working with GE Aviation for nearly six months. We have found them to be very positive about our community and the local workforce, along with being appreciative of the county and town’s efforts to move this project forward.”

Mitchell said GE is the type of company Ashe County is interested in growing locally because of the strength of their market, the salaries and benefits offered to employees, and the company’s role as “good corporate citizens in the community.”

“We feel it’s an ideal match and believe that the incentive package is a necessary and positive step in helping the company reach a decision to expand here in West Jefferson.”

The proposed expansion in West Jefferson is just a part of GE’s growth plans in the Tar Heel state, according to information released by the company June 17.

The company has announced plans to add a 125,000-square-foot facility near Asheville that would produce advanced ceramic matrix composite material engine components, which could add more than 340 jobs to the Buncombe County economy.

The investment would also allow for increased capacity and new plant and equipment in both Durham and Wilmington, according to GE.

The world’s largest and fastest-growing installed based of jet engines in commercial aviation, GE Aviation employs approximately 40,000 people and operates more than 80 facilities around the world.

For more information and stories, see Ashe Mountain Times.