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Wichita City Council Approves Incentives For NetApp Expansion

Ferran Rodenas

On a 6-1 vote, Wichita City Council members approved an economic incentive grant for NetApp Tuesday, an information technology company that plans to expand in Wichita.

An estimated 418 new customer service employees are expected to double NetApp’s workforce over the next 5 years. The company also plans to invest $86 million in new equipment.

Wichita’s Economic Development Director Allen Bell told the council NetApp had opportunities to expand in other states such as North Carolina, but chose Wichita to grow their customer support center.

Bell says the city and county are proposing a grant to NetApp that’s about $1,000 per job created over the next 5 years, not exceeding a total of $836,000.

During the public hearing Bob Weeks spoke out against the proposal saying, the incentives raise costs for everyone.

“By having a special head start that most other companies in Kansas don’t receive, NetApp can pay higher wages than it would otherwise. This increases cost for other businesses that hire the same type of employees be they, the specialized types of computer engineers, but also accountants clerks, custodial staff, landscape people or anybody else,” said Weeks.

Councilmember Pete Meitzner thanked the NetApp officials in attendance for their willingness to expand in Wichita.
“I think it’s wonderful for you and the future workers, the 400 and some that are going to make in the $70,000 a year type salaries. These are good jobs and appreciate it,” said Meitzner.

The new jobs will primarily focus on product development and customer support. 

Council member Mike O’Donnell voted against the proposal.

Sedgwick County Commissioners are expected to discuss the plan during their scheduled meeting Wednesday.

Carla Eckels is Director of Organizational Culture at KMUW. She produces and hosts the R&B and gospel show Soulsations and brings stories of race and culture to The Range with the monthly segment In the Mix. Carla was inducted into The Kansas African American Museum's Trailblazers Hall of Fame in 2020 for her work in broadcast/journalism.