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Delaware County regroups after green factories fizzle

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A central Indiana county is pulling back its financial support for a pair of green-energy companies who so far haven't delivered on plans for factories with hundreds of workers.

The Delaware County commissioners on Monday approved withdrawing $5 million of property-tax support for Italian company Brevini Wind, which in 2009 announced plans for a 455-worker factory outside Muncie that would make wind-turbine gearboxes.

Brevini now has about 70 workers in Yorktown and will still receive $1.7 million in tax-increment financing revenue, The Star Press of Muncie reported.

In its 2009 announcement, Brevini said it would spend $60 million on the project after relocating its U.S. offices from the Chicago suburb of Vernon Hills. The new jobs were supposed to pay an average of $46,000 each.

Delaware County officials also agreed to let the other company, VAT Energies LLC, sell some unused wind-and-solar-powered streetlights that it expected to build in Muncie. The county hopes to recoup $250,000 it paid for a wind vane planned along Interstate 69 that was meant to brand Delaware County as a green manufacturing hub. It was never erected.

VAT Energies, a subsidiary of a German alternative energy company, said in 2009 that it planned to spend $3.3 million to open a 60,000-square-foot facility near Yorktown with up to 120 workers by 2011. 

"It's a hard lesson learned," county Commissioner Larry Bledsoe said about the agreements. "This is the best that it gets, unfortunately."

Commissioners President Todd Donati acknowledged that the agreement with VAT meant that the 100-plus jobs promised by German businessman Oliver Viehweider would never materialize.

Donati said the county would "get what we can, up to $300,000," from the sale of the unused VAT streetlights and save thousands of dollars from a potential legal battle.

"At least we get the $300,000, and we can move on," Donati said.

Brevini Wind has struggled to land projects in the troubled wind-energy industry. Company officials hope to win contracts in other businesses in an effort to employ 250 people by the end of 2013 under an extension of the company's job-creation incentives with the county.

Bledsoe said that VAT's failure was an unfortunate outcome of the pressure on communities to add jobs, especially in the wake of the recession.

"It's the result of very aggressive competition among local communities trying to get economic development," Bledsoe said. "You offer the best incentive you can. Unfortunately, some things don't work out."

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  1. These liberals are out of control. They want to drive our economy into the ground and double and triple our electric bills. Sierra Club, stay out of Indy!

  2. These activist liberal judges have gotten out of control. Thankfully we have a sensible supreme court that overturns their absurd rulings!

  3. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing money at the IRL or whatever they call it now. Probably should save that money for actual operations.

  4. For you central Indiana folks that don't know what a good pizza is, Aurelio's will take care of that. There are some good pizza places in central Indiana but nothing like this!!!

  5. I am troubled with this whole string of comments as I am not sure anyone pointed out that many of the "high paying" positions have been eliminated identified by asterisks as of fiscal year 2012. That indicates to me that the hospitals are making responsible yet difficult decisions and eliminating heavy paying positions. To make this more problematic, we have created a society of "entitlement" where individuals believe they should receive free services at no cost to them. I have yet to get a house repair done at no cost nor have I taken my car that is out of warranty for repair for free repair expecting the government to pay for it even though it is the second largest investment one makes in their life besides purchasing a home. Yet, we continue to hear verbal and aggressive abuse from the consumer who expects free services and have to reward them as a result of HCAHPS surveys which we have no influence over as it is 3rd party required by CMS. Peel the onion and get to the root of the problem...you will find that society has created the problem and our current political landscape and not the people who were fortunate to lead healthcare in the right direction before becoming distorted. As a side note, I had a friend sit in an ED in Canada for nearly two days prior to being evaluated and then finally...3 months later got a CT of the head. You pay for what you get...

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