Reporting Laura Cole
VACAVILLE (CBS13) — An aircraft manufacturer has an ambitious plan that might just fly and could bring hundreds of new jobs to Vacaville.
City leaders are trying to recruit Icon Aircraft by offering big incentives for the company to land in Vacaville.
“I think this is a win for our city as a whole for our residents to get future jobs, and for our business owners to get benefits from their customers being here in town,” said City Manager Laura Kuhn.
The company’s $200,000 light-sport aircraft could soon be bringing big business to the city.
“I’ll tell you that Vacaville has surprised us,” said Icon Aircraft CEO Kirk Hawkins.
The company wants to build a new facility to manufacture planes. It says it has 1,000 on backorder and would need to hire up to 500 people to meet demand.
But what makes Vacaville so attractive?
“The first thing that Vacaville has done is been very proactive and demonstrate that they actually want the business,” Hawkins said. “Don’t just talk about it, go do something about it.”
The City Council is considering an economic incentive package that would give Icon up to 75 percent of the local sales tax on each plane sold, and half of the city’s portion of the hotel tax generated by Icon customers and employees.
Existing businesses like Merchant and Main Bar and Grill believe this could lead to more customers and give a big boost to the local economy.
“We welcome them. It would be great not just for them, not just for Vacaville, but for every small business if they can bring in more revenue for everyone in general,” said Miguel Vasquez.
And Vacaville says the sales-tax giveaway will be more than made up for by a soaring economic future.
“They’ll buy gas here, they’re going to go to restaurants, they’re going to shop, so all those things are good for local businesses,” said Kuhn.
Icon is also looking at cities in Arizona and Texas. It hopes to make a decision in the next few months.