Latest vote: EMC Corp. gets city incentives with state, county money | News

Latest vote: EMC Corp. gets city incentives with state, county money

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UPDATE: EMC has bought a 450,000-square-foot distribution center in Durham. Read more >>

Last night, Durham's City Council voted to give EMC Corp. $1 million in economic-development incentives to build a new data center in Durham and bring 292 jobs to Durham, according to this morning's reports by The Herald-Sun and The News & Observer.

Earlier this month, Durham County Commissioners agreed to grant the Massachusetts-based company specializing in data storage, security and management, $1.2 million in incentives and money for training if the company locates new jobs and facilities here. And in September, Governor Bev Perdue announced that the state would help lure EMC here, with as much as $7.4 million during the next nine years through a Job Development Investment Grant from the state. Add it all together, and it seems probable that EMC would choose Durham over sites in New York, Virginia, Washington and Canada that the company had announced it was also considering.

In addition to bringing new jobs in Durham, EMC would add more than 100 jobs in Apex. The company also would make a $280-million investment through its facilities in Durham, which would build the county's tax base. EMC already has a presence in Research Triangle Park and 900 employees in our state.

According to coverage from the daily newspapers, though the City Council voted unanimously, the matter was not decided without concerns about the diversity of the company's current workforce from Council member Howard Clement, who is currently running for re-election. When asked about the company's demographics, Kevin Dick, director of the city's Office of Economic and Workforce Development, declined to publicly disclose such information.

But earlier this month when considering its incentives grant, County Commissioner Joe Bowser asked a similar question -- how many of the company's existing employees in Durham currently live in the county? Ted Conner, Vice President of Economic Development
& Community Sustainability, answered. He told Bowser that number fell around 21 percent, to which Bowser replied, "That is not acceptable to me. ... I would hope that the company would open their doors wider to our citizens."

Similar to what happened with the City Council, the commissioners voted unanimously to pass the incentives package despite raising concerns over demographics.

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