An Extra boost for Montrose economy

In the economy, the prospect of bringing 200 new, middle-class manufacturing jobs to a community is enticing, even if the risks are worrisome.

The Montrose County commissioners have had ample opportunity to evaluate the risks inherent in providing county funds to aid Extra Aircraft’s move to Montrose.

They decided that the benefits Extra will provide, not only through the jobs but in corporate spending, taxes and attracting aircraft customers to the area, more than offset the risks.

That’s especially true, the commissioners say, now that an earlier-discussed land purchase the county was to undertake on behalf of Extra is off the table. Instead, the county will build a new $2 million hangar for Extra on county-owned land at the Montrose Regional Airport. Should Extra leave, the county would still own the hangar and could lease it to others, the commissioners say.

It’s a calculated gamble, and we can’t say the commissioners made the wrong decision. If Extra proves to be a stable, long-term partner in the community, as it says it will be, the jobs and related impact will be a significant boost to the region’s economy.

Extra says it plans to create 200 jobs in Montrose by 2012, building light private aircraft similar to the planes it now constructs in Germany.

However, due largely to the financial state of the company, a consulting firm hired by the county said earlier this month that a deal between the county and Extra wasn’t worth the risk to taxpayers.

For the sake of those taxpayers and the community as a whole, we hope the commissioners’ gamble pays off.


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