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 user 2009-12-01 at 11:14:42 am Views: 71
  • #23017


    Wednesday is a day that
    has been circled on more than a few calendars in Rio Rancho.It’s the day
    that technology giant Hewlett-Packard opens its 218,000-square-foot
    customer service and technical support center in Rio Rancho’s City
    Center area.HP officials will join city, county and state officials in
    welcoming HP to the City of Vision with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 9

    Mayor Tom Swisstack said the Hewlett-Packard project is
    ahead of schedule.
    “This to me demonstrates that everybody works
    together, from the builders to the people that surveyed the property to
    city staff moving the permitting process so they could get their doors
    open in a timely fashion,” he said. “It’s equally exciting that they’re
    opening their doors with a little over 600 employees.”

    thinks that HP opening its center in Rio Rancho shows that the city is
    on the move.
    “Despite the recession that is hitting New Mexico, Rio
    Rancho is still a growth community,” Swisstack said. “HP is helping to
    elevate the capacity that’s needed to bring in other businesses. They’re
    becoming good stewards in working with our city in getting involved in
    community activities.”“We’re very excited,” said Linda Wedeen,
    communications manager for the HP Rio Rancho site.Wedeen couldn’t go
    into specifics on how many employees the center would have initially,
    but said HP is on target to have 1,350 employees by the end of 2012. She
    said HP is conducting business at its temporary site in Albuquerque and
    will move employees over to the new site into Rio Rancho.Of the initial
    employees, Wedeen said approximately 70 percent of them will be new
    hires.HP hopes to have 1,800 full-time employees in 15 years and the
    company says the majority of the jobs will pay at least $40,000, with an
    annual payroll of $54 million.

    HP received several tax breaks
    and incentives to locate in New Mexico.
    The state contributed $6
    million in capital outlay funding. That money went to the City of Rio
    Rancho in early August to provide infrastructure.The state also has
    contributed $8,095,883 through the Job Training Incentive Program for HP
    to train 647 employees, Toni Balzano, a spokeswoman for the New Mexico
    Economic Development Department said. The most recent funding was $3.7
    million awarded on Nov. 13 to train 300 employees.

    As for future
    funding from JTIP, that’s up in the air.
    Balzano said the program
    needs more money to provide for additional requests.
    “If they were to
    come back in for another $1.5 million or so and we’re without funds
    unless we get supplemental funding between now and June,” she said.
    “What may happen is we may push their request into next fiscal year to
    manage their request.”

    Regardless, Balzano says the state will
    honor its commitment to HP.
    “That’s (JTIP) one of our most important
    recruitment tools for HP,” Balzano said. “We will absolutely fulfill our
    promise. It is important for economic development. The state can’t be
    seen not holding up promises or its end of the deal or we won’t be able
    to recruit companies to the state.”Wedeen wouldn’t go into details on
    the JTIP, but said HP is moving forward.“We are moving in with the
    amount of employees we’re expected to move forward with,” she said. “At
    this point, nothing is hampered.”The city is offering HP $63.5 million
    in industrial revenue bonds to finance the acquisition, equipping and
    construction of its new facility. The bonds give HP a break on property
    taxes, but not for taxes related to Rio Rancho Public Schools.Titan City
    Center, which is developing the HP project, is responsible for all
    costs associated with the bonds.

    The city is leasing 17.08 acres
    of land appraised at $595,203.84 to HP for $1 a year for 50 years.Other
    incentives the city has offered Hewlett-Packard include a fast track for
    the building plan review, permit issuance and construction inspection
    scheduling; no fees for checking structure plans, tenant improvements
    and building permits; no impact fees; no water meter fees or
    installation charges, and reimbursing the project grading costs. The
    land and the building revert to the city at the end of the 50-year land
    lease agreement.