North Carolina locals question benefits of Apple's $1 billion server farm

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
A new report claims that local residents view Apple's massive data center in Maiden, N.C. has been a "disappointing development" because it has brought just 50 full-time jobs to the area, which is struggling with double-digit unemployment rates.



The Washington Post spoke to several residents from the small town of 3,400 about Apple's $1 billion project.



?Apple really doesn?t mean a thing to this town,? said Tony Parker, a furniture maker in the town.



Kelly McRee, Parker's son-in-law, viewed the benefits of the company coming to town as largely symbolic. ?Apple was the apple of everybody?s eye, but that?s about it. It was something for everyone to ooh and aah over.?



But, Maiden Town Manager William "Todd" Herms believes Apple does have a positive impact on residents' lives. ?I think the average citizen sees it affecting life,? he said. ?They are a great corporate neighbor.?



At the least, two residents have benefitted significantly from Apple's venture. Donnie and Kathy Fulbright received $1.7 million from the company for their one-acre property. Apple had to make several offers for their land and eventually asked them to set their own price.



As for others, the data center hasn't been a help to them. When asked how tough things were in Maiden, Samantha Saunders, the owner of a local hardware store, said, ?The extreme of tough.?



An unemployed Maiden resident voiced doubt to the Post that jobs at the data center are actually accessible to locals. ?People from around here don?t get those jobs,? he said. ?Really, furniture is the only thing I know. Those data jobs are not for us.?



The North Carolina legislature amended its corporate income tax law in order to offer Apple tax breaks of up to $46 million over the next 10 years to build its data center in the state. According to the report, local authorities have discounted property taxes by 50 percent and personal taxes by 85 percent. In exchange, Apple has created 50 full-time jobs and is also expected to create 250 "indirect contracting jobs."



The state's unemployment rate of 10.5 percent currently stands as one of the highest in the U.S. The area around Maiden has an even higher jobless rate of 13 percent.



Apple announced Maiden as the location for the data center project, codenamed "Project Dolphin," in 2009. According to the company, the server farm, which opened up earlier this year, supports its iTunes, MobileMe and iCloud services.



The Cupertino, Calif., company does not appear to be finished with developments on the data center. Recently-revealed permits show that Apple is looking to build a solar farm to power the facilities. AppleInsider reported earlier this month that renewable energy company Leaf Solar Power has been contracted to help with the project. Apple is also rumored to be interested in doubling the size of the 500,000 square-foot center.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 288
    marvfoxmarvfox Posts: 2,275member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    A new report claims that local residents view Apple's massive data center in Maiden, N.C. has been a "disappointing development" because it has brought just 50 full-time jobs to the area, which is struggling with double-digit unemployment rates.



    The Washington Post spoke to several residents from the small town of 3,400 about Apple's $1 billion project.



    ?Apple really doesn?t mean a thing to this town,? said Tony Parker, a furniture maker in the town.



    Kelly McRee, Parker's son-in-law, viewed the benefits of the company coming to town as largely symbolic. ?Apple was the apple of everybody?s eye, but that?s about it. It was something for everyone to ooh and aah over.?



    But, Maiden Town Manager William "Todd" Herms believes Apple does have a positive impact on residents' lives. ?I think the average citizen sees it affecting life,? he said. ?They are a great corporate neighbor.?



    At the least, two residents have benefitted significantly from Apple's venture. Donnie and Kathy Fulbright received $1.7 million from the company for their one-acre property. Apple had to make several offers for their land and eventually asked them to set their own price.



    As for others, the data center hasn't been a help to them. When asked how tough things were in Maiden, Samantha Saunders, the owner of a local hardware store, said, ?The extreme of tough.?



    An unemployed Maiden resident voiced doubt to the Post that jobs at the data center are actually accessible to locals. ?People from around here don?t get those jobs,? he said. ?Really, furniture is the only thing I know. Those data jobs are not for us.?



    The North Carolina legislature amended its corporate income tax law in order to offer Apple tax breaks of up to $46 million over the next 10 years to build its data center in the state. According to the report, local authorities have discounted property taxes by 50 percent and personal taxes by 85 percent. In exchange, Apple has created 50 full-time jobs and is also expected to create 250 "indirect contracting jobs."



    The state's unemployment rate of 10.5 percent currently stands as one of the highest in the U.S. The area around Maiden has an even higher jobless rate of 13 percent.



    Apple announced Maiden as the location for the data center project, codenamed "Project Dolphin," in 2009. According to the company, the server farm, which opened up earlier this year, supports its iTunes, MobileMe and iCloud services.



    The Cupertino, Calif., company does not appear to be finished with developments on the data center. Recently-revealed permits show that Apple is looking to build a solar farm to power the facilities. AppleInsider reported earlier this month that renewable energy company Leaf Solar Power has been contracted to help with the project. Apple is also rumored to be interested in doubling the size of the 500,000 square-foot center.



    You are telling me 50 jobs that is all Apple offered. A dam disgrace indeed. This state is high in unemployment to begin with.Tim Cook and Apple better get their act together.
  • Reply 2 of 288
    Why is it a disgrace? If the set up only requires 50 employees, then it only requires 50 employees! Why take on 150 people to have most of them sat around doing nothing? Or did I miss the news article that saw Apple become a registered charity?
  • Reply 3 of 288
    radjinradjin Posts: 165member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by marvfox View Post


    You are telling me 50 jobs that is all Apple offered. A dam disgrace indeed. This state is high in unemployment to begin with.Tim Cook and Apple better get their act together.



    Isn't 50 better then none? And what logic is there to hiring more then one needs?
  • Reply 4 of 288
    Did those people ever stop to consider the tax breaks that city receives? Sure it might be 50 jobs but its probably high paying jobs for that area. I'd rather see 50 high paying jobs than 200 McDonalds paying jobs.
  • Reply 5 of 288
    Well, some tax revenue is certainly better than none and I am sure Apple brings in nice chunk to the state. They will probably bring more after 10 years.



    Most of the technical work to maintain modern data centers are done remotely so very few people are needed on the ground to phyiscally monitor the environment. Although Apple would still need landscaping companies, parking lot cleaners etc...



    It's unfortunate that Apple and others can not build factories to assemble their products in NC or anywhere else in the states because it is just not economical. Steve Jobs personally told the president that the fact that the US can not build factories is an issue, the US government needs to take this very seriously. A factory in NC would surely put a lot of local people to work but instead all the jobs are going to China and Brazil.



    Time will tell.
  • Reply 6 of 288
    I see some woolly thinking. It may be true and very reasonable that locals are unhappy that only fifty jobs came with the data centre so far, but to conclude from that that Apple should have made more jobs simply doesn't follow. The choice the community has is to have Apple there and accept fifty new jobs, or have Apple go elsewhere and not have fifty new jobs. To say they would rather have had a new factory with 500 jobs is certainly understandable, but that's not Apple's fault! All sorts of folk wisdom has been directed at this common misdirection of blame, from the saying about not looking a gift horse in the mouth to Æsop's fables.



    Chris
  • Reply 7 of 288
    jr_bjr_b Posts: 64member
    These damn unions.



    </sarcasm>
  • Reply 8 of 288
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by marvfox View Post


    You are telling me 50 jobs that is all Apple offered. A dam disgrace indeed. This state is high in unemployment to begin with.Tim Cook and Apple better get their act together.



    Yes coz it makes sense to hire thousands of people to run a facility that only requires about 50.



    So you want Apple to hire everyone in town...To do what? Just for the sake of hiring people that they actually don't need?



    What Apple is brining in though is tax revenue for the town and state.
  • Reply 9 of 288
    oflifeoflife Posts: 120member
    It is that attitude which is why the West is in the mess it is. Liberal thinking that says a) Employ people, even if you do not need or cannot afford them. b) Loan people money for items or property they havn't a hope in hell of repaying.



    Further down the road, the wheels then start to fall off. As is happening now as overpaid council staff (here in UK anyway) are sapping up money that could otherwise pay for actual services.



    Apple can do what they like, they are a private company. All that matters is they are environmentally responsible & treat their workers well, not to mention, help in the community. Perhaps by funding a local bus service for the elderly or similar.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by marvfox View Post


    You are telling me 50 jobs that is all Apple offered. A dam disgrace indeed. This state is high in unemployment to begin with.Tim Cook and Apple better get their act together.



  • Reply 10 of 288
    blastdoorblastdoor Posts: 1,953member
    The real issue here has nothing to do with apple. The real issue is that state and local governments fall all over themselves to give tax breaks to companies without really thinking about whether the benefits outweigh the costs. Another example is how cities fall all over themselves to build stadiums for sports franchises. I think it's largely a case of little people trying to feel big.



    I don't know enough about the details here to know whether the NC folks made a mistake or not, but those sound like some pretty big tax cuts for a very small number of jobs. Again -- not apples fault -- they were honest about the number of jobs. The problem is a culture where everyone reflexively rolls over for big business.
  • Reply 11 of 288
    It's getting so that anything that Apple does proves to be a disappointment. That's what happens when a company has been an achiever and then it becomes expected to excel at everything. I'm fairly certain that before the center had been built, Apple gave statistics on how many jobs the center would provide when completed and it certainly wasn't that high a number of jobs. I don't think this should really surprise anyone that made the decisions of bringing the data center to Maiden. When the solar farm gets running, that should provide a few more jobs, but there's really not going to be any major jobs there unless Apple decides to open a manufacturing plant of some sort. I guess since Apple is the wealthiest tech company on Wall Street, locals figure Apple can do so much more for residents. It's not going to happen. Apple is probably one of the most relatively frugal companies on record. When Apple reaches $100 billion in reserve cash, they'll be no different.
  • Reply 12 of 288
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by marvfox View Post


    You are telling me 50 jobs that is all Apple offered. A dam disgrace indeed. This state is high in unemployment to begin with.Tim Cook and Apple better get their act together.



    Apple is nothing like the NYC Metropolitan Transit Authority. No way is Apple going to provide a three to one redundancy for every employee. Apple should provide some free services to the town like bandwidth or iPads or MacBooks for the schools, but that's about as far as should be expected. Everyone should definitely know by now that it's not in Apple's DNA to give away things for free.
  • Reply 13 of 288
    This is what Facebook did in here in Forest City, NC. Facebook has been there for over a year and I don't know anyone that works there or know anybody else that knows someone working there. I work next door at the North Carolina Data Center so you would think I would see someone besides the guards. The people that they did hire mainly came from Ohio. Google up in Lenoir even hired out of state. I can't complain about them wanting to save money on employee costs but come on. At least hire from within the state that is giving you the tax break. The skilled workers are here. Why not take advantage of them?
  • Reply 14 of 288
    3400 people in the town.

    A potiential for 25-250 jobs.

    Unemployment rate at 13%



    Worst case scenario 25 jobs brings unemployment down .7%

    50 jobs brings it down 1.5%

    250 jobs brings it down 7.4%

    Plus tax money to the town.



    I can see why some of these people think that data jobs from Apple isn't for them and why their unemployment rate is so high. Basic math and logic must be hard to come by in this small town...
  • Reply 15 of 288
    jdwjdw Posts: 785member
    Ah yes... Apple is in business so that it can "hire people." It serves no other purpose whatsoever. "Hiring out-of-work Americans" is Apple's sole reason for existence.



    Has the world gone mad? Or is this just a slow news day?



    And honestly, who cares? That especially holds true for those of us who don't live there. In the greater scheme of things, it really doesn't matter.
  • Reply 16 of 288
    I live in Charlotte, not far from there. I spoke with someone who lives in Maiden a few weeks ago, the existence of the data center was at best a peripheral fact to her.



    I agree, 50 is better than zero. Did they think iCloud would be powered by elves??
  • Reply 17 of 288
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by brandon28139 View Post


    This is what Facebook did in here in Forest City, NC. Facebook has been there for over a year and I don't know anyone that works there or know anybody else that knows someone working there. I work next door at the North Carolina Data Center so you would think I would see someone besides the guards. The people that they did hire mainly came from Ohio. Google up in Lenoir even hired out of state. I can't complain about them wanting to save money on employee costs but come on. At least hire from within the state that is giving you the tax break. The skilled workers are here. Why not take advantage of them?



    So your telling me you know everyone in Forest City, NC to confirm NO ONE locally works there? What about the neighboring towns do you know everyone there? You can't logically confirm Facebook, or any major company doesn't hire locally. Secondly since when we're jobs guaranteed locally? I though jobs go to the most qualified person? Why would these companies hire people that don't meet qualifications?
  • Reply 18 of 288
    People who have been furniture makers their whole lives do not bring the skills necessary. It doesn't matter how many jobs Apple brings to this area the people who have lived there their whole lives do not have the skills. At least some one got jobs building it and the people who owned the land made out.



    Apple did the right thing.
  • Reply 19 of 288
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,862member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by marvfox View Post


    You are telling me 50 jobs that is all Apple offered. A dam disgrace indeed. This state is high in unemployment to begin with.Tim Cook and Apple better get their act together.



    What exactly did you expect? If you have a town full of idiots, you really won't have many jobs for them in a data center. This is the greatest issue right now in America, people expecting jobs, handouts or whatever and taking no responsibility to obtain said jobs through education and self development.



    It really is too bad that corporal punishment is frowned upon in the US these days because I honest believe the only way to reach people at this level is through brutal readjustment. One can not expect to be handed employment, it is earned just like anything else in this country.
  • Reply 20 of 288
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by chrisrayb View Post


    So your telling me you know everyone in Forest City, NC to confirm NO ONE locally works there? What about the neighboring towns do you know everyone there? You can't logically confirm Facebook, or any major company doesn't hire locally. Secondly since when we're jobs guaranteed locally? I though jobs go to the most qualified person? Why would these companies hire people that don't meet qualifications?



    Further to your point...



    I'm a recently hired remote worker for a megacorp. I suppose they could have hired my position out of one of the two main offices where this devision works out of, but I live in Milwaukee, which has a far higher unemployment than where those offices are. I also left an open position at my last job, which will also be filled from the Milwaukee pool. I'll be renting an office space in a nearby building, buying furniture and electronics from local retail, etc.



    So just because the position didn't get filled locally doesn't mean the job didn't go to someone else who needed it.
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