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Council adjusts economic incentives package for Imaflex

By David Bodenheimer
The Dispatch
Published: Monday, December 20, 2010 at 10:40 p.m.

The Thomasville City Council, at the recommendation from Davidson County Economic Development Commission executive director Steve Googe, waived a clause in an economic incentives package that was granted to Imaflex Inc. nearly five years ago.

The approval came after the board held a public hearing in which only Googe and Thomasville resident Barney W. Hill spoke.

The company pledged $10 million to the city and to employ 60 people by 2010. Currently the company has invested $14 million but only employs 40 workers. Thanks to the coined Watford guidelines (from Davidson County Board of Commissioner Chairman Sam Watford) the EDC installed contracts that prior to the grant request, would allow businesses to waive wage and job requirements if the unemployment rate is in double digits during one of the past six months, and as a result the grant would be proportionately reduced relative to the employment percentage. In this case, Imaflex will receive approximately 66 percent of it's annual incentive.

"Imaflex has invested 40 percent more than they promised when they came," Googe said. "They've been limited to the folks that they have been able to hire due to the economy and also a major equipment issue they have since straightened out."

Hill also spoke in favor of the waiver.

"Imaflex already was getting back less than half of the amount it pays to you," Hill said. "The Imaflex waiver is your waiver. The waiver, even as proposed, is slightly more lenient than the county guidelines allow. You wouldn't have to worry about altering conditions that prove too onerous if you didn't put the conditions in, in the first place. I speak in support of the waiver as proposed, but I urge you to improve it."

In other news, the board:

Passed a resolution honoring the life and memory of the late George Burton Jr. Burton served five consecutive terms on the board, losing his seat last November. Burton, 67, died Nov. 29 from complications due to lung cancer. The council said they are deeply grieved at the loss of its friend and public servant but is grateful to have known and served with Burton.

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