Confusion with NCR's stimulus funding

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email | Twitter

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - NCR seems to be on the right track bringing a new facility and hundreds of jobs to the area, but the nation's second in command is saying not so fast.

According to the Dayton Daily News, Vice-President Biden wrote a letter to two Ohio Congressmen saying, the use of these funds for the relocation of jobs from one state to another is not approved. He went on to say if Columbus applied for these funds to purchase a facility to house NCR in order to take jobs away from Ohio, that request would not be granted.

But Columbus officials tell News Leader Nine, a different story. Becca Hardin, the Executive Vice-President for Economic Development said, "He's taking both projects and combining them when really they're two separate projects."

Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington added, "The issue is these Senators or Representatives in Ohio say we're taking jobs from Ohio and bringing them to Georgia and that's not the case at all. It never was."

The city of Columbus applied for more than $5 million from Federal Government to help set up NCR's new manufacturing facility when the company makes its move from Ohio.

"We had to close the deal with NCR and the city leadership stepped up and agreed to be the financial back-stop in case EDA funds did not come through. The city is partnering with us to make sure we're committed to NCR and the project will not falter," Hardin told News Leader Nine.

Mayor Wetherington said, "We are prepared to pay them is we have to but we're hoping to get the $5 million. We know we'll get the $1.5 million from the state and maybe we'll get more from the state if we don't get these stimulus funds."

The city believes Biden's comments were meant to reference NCR's headquarters in Duluth, and they are hopeful the government will continue to work with them, regardless of the Vice-President's remarks.

Hardin said, "We're still working with the federal government and they've committed to assist us with the project because it is bringing high-tech manufacturing jobs to the United States. That application is in and we're in the process of tweaking some things now. We should know in the next few weeks to what level they can support us."

Mayor Wetherington told News Leader Nine it is unfortunate the Vice-President made those comments, but he wants people to focus on the fact that more than 800 jobs are coming to Columbus, and that's always good news for the area.