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The Post-Standard -
Syracuse, New York
|By: Charley Hannagan, Staff writer|
Saturday, October 22, 2005
Did a public relations flub keep a Salina company from getting state helpto expand and create 30 jobs? Or can the company pay for the expansion withoutstate aid?
Earlier this month, J.G.B. Enterprises Inc. won a $40 million contract tobuild portable water systems for the Air Force. Oct. 3, the company announcedthe contract and said it will need to double the size of its Executive Drivebuilding to accommodate the work. It will create 30 jobs; the company employs185.
Oct. 13, J.G.B. asked the state for a $150,000 grant to help with the expansion.The state said no.
Company Vice President Stephon Starrantino said he thinks the state rejectedthe request because the company announced the expansion first.
That's not so, said Tom Gillson, vice president and regional director ofthe Empire State Development Corp. in Central New York.
When J.G.B. announced the contract, it was obvious to the state it didn'tneed help to expand its building, he said.
"They bid on a contract. They secured that contract. Therefore theymust be able to perform," Gillson said. "If you're announcing thatyou're doing the project, then you don't need us."
The state doesn't give grants to companies that can pay for an expansionor new equipment on their own, he said.
Starrantino wondered how the state would know whether the company neededthe money. The company didn't disclose its finances in the half-hour talkwith state officials it had Oct. 13, he said.
"It's a bad excuse," Starrantino said.
The company plans to go forward with the expansion, even without the state'shelp, Starrantino said.
The whole incident, however, leads him to believe the state is moving itsfocus away from helping manufacturers, he said. J.G.B. gets monthly phonecalls from economic development officials in Georgia and Virginia encouragingthe company to move to those states, he said.
The company doesn't want to move, Starrantino said.
"Do I want to be in New York? Yeah 110 percent. I love our community," said.