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by Jordan Green

ITEMS FROM ACROSS THE TRIAD AND BEYOND | BY JORDAN GREEN WINSTON-SALEM CITY COUNCIL AWARDS $1 MILLION IN INCENTIVES TO PEPSI

The Winston-Salem City Council voted unanimously to provide Pepsi Bottling Ventures LLC with $1 million in economic incentives over 10 years in exchange for investing $81.7 million and retaining 307 positions in the city. Assistant City Manager Derwick Paige said the company would relocate an additional 198 positions, but most are already filled. The city estimates that the investment would generate new property tax revenue of about $1.5 million. The city would reap a third of that amount, or about $500,000 after paying out the $1 million in incentives.

The Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce supported the request, but John Hopkins, a North Ward resident who identified himself as a former employee of Pepsi Bottling in Raleigh, said council should turn the company down.

“Pepsi is going to push their product to where there is demand,” he said. “I don’t see that there is a need to fund them. Right now, the profit margin on soda is fairly significant. There’s not a high cost to it. The other thing that needs to be kept in mind is that Pepsi and other companies like this, if they want to raise money they can go to private markets; they don’t need to do it off the public.”

Southwest Ward Councilman Dan Besse responded, “I don’t like incentives. I wish we could eliminate them. Unfortunately, if Winston-Salem unilaterally eliminates them we have committed what is in effect unilateral economic disarmament. And Pepsi has alternatives just over the county line in a couple directions that they could take this additional investment and these additional jobs.”

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