While there’s been a lot of concerns raised about the size of the tax incentives and the secrecy surrounding the deal, it appears most locals – hard hit by the loss of the local furniture industry – welcome the arrival of Google.
Locals are also hitting back at detractors…
Local officials argue that [Google] will pay hundreds of thousands in franchise fees, sales taxes and payroll taxes, and that it has filled local hotels with construction workers, bought tons of stone and concrete, and hired security guards. Since the deal was announced, a former Winn-Dixie store, on the market for more than a year, has sold, and the town mall is under contract, officials said…”Here’s what I’ve asked people, too: what’s the disadvantage?” said David Barlow, the mayor. “What if they weren’t coming? Then we’d have 100 percent of nothing.”
Lloyd Taylor, Google’s director of global operations, said there is a false assumption that the data center would have “a team of rocket scientists holed up in a room.” Many of the company’s computers, he said, can self-diagnose problems and be repaired by trained workers. Google is already helping the community college develop a technology-training program. And, he said, the company believes that furniture makers have “a great work ethic.”
While I still question some of the corners-cut, in order to make the deal work, I’m glad I didn’t go as far as the Charlotte Observer with their personal attacks on the residents of Lenoir.
At times, things have gotten personal. “God bless them if they can learn how to run a server farm,” a Charlotte Observer columnist wrote of Lenoir’s workforce. “A lot of folks in Charlotte and Atlanta and D.C. already know how.”