Mayor Allen Joines today called for Dell to provide detailed information about employment at its computer-assembly plant in Forsyth County and invited the plant director of operations to discuss the issue at the May 11 meeting of the City Council's Finance Committee.
City financial incentives to Dell are predicated on the plant employing a least 1,700 people at an average yearly pay of $28,000 by September 2010. The plant has confirmed layoffs at the plant but has not provided current employment figures.
In a statement, Joines said:
"Dell is, and I am confident will continue to be, a valued member of our business community. It is important to keep in mind that they are still among our largest employers and have made more than $100 million of taxable investment in our community that generates a significant amount of property tax.
"That said, I, and the City Council are increasingly concerned by the company’s withholding of employment information related to incentive requirements.
"I recognize that these are very difficult economic times, however, the people of Winston-Salem have invested in this company and deserve more forthcoming communication, especially now when open and active dialogue between the public and our corporate leadership is so critical.
"I believe the leadership at Dell understands the value of staying connected with the communities in which it has formed partnerships. Therefore, I am officially notifying the company’s leadership today that their current position regarding the release of employment information is not acceptable to our community and is not productive in building and maintaining the trust that must be an integral part of any community partnership.
"I am also reaffirming our community’s support and desire for their operations here to be successful as their failure, would also be our failure.
"I’ve also invited Mr. Mehran Ravanpay, the director of operations at Dell’s Winston-Salem plant, to attend the May 11, 2009, meeting of our city Finance Committee. At that time I am optimistic that we can re-establish the level of communication and sharing of information between Dell and the city that we have appreciated in the past."
Within five years of commencing operations, Dell must create 1,700 qualified jobs with an average wage of at least $28,000. The company commenced operations on September 19, 2005.
Job creation represents 50% of the total incentive package.
There are no benchmark goals for job creation during the first five years of operations. As such, the company earns the entire 50% of the job creation incentive payment during this period.
If the company fails to reach the 1,700 qualified job creation threshold by the end of year five then they shall repay a pro rata share of the annual incentive payments based upon the actual job creation.
Jobs are always reported as of September 19 of each year and the 5-year job creation period runs through September 19, 2010.
Payments are made annually in July. Currently, the City has made two payments totaling $5,500,000 plus $1,035,532.
An annual payroll audit is received around July 1 of each year through the previous September. Based upon the July 1, 2008, report, there were 921 qualified employees on the payroll as of September 19, 2007.