Johnson Control's potential move to Hopewell Township leaves us with mixed feelings.

The Milwaukee-based manufacturer of heating, cooling and ventilation systems has a long history in Spring Garden Township, where York International -- which it bought in 2005 -- first set up shop in 1925.

Sentimentality aside, Spring Garden will certainly take a hit to its tax base, as well.

And the company's move south to the Stonebridge Industrial Park off Interstate 83 in Hopewell Township would require three taxing bodies -- the township, the county and South Eastern School District -- to forgo a large portion of taxes on the 60-acre plot for 20 years.

During that time, taxes to those parties on Johnson Controls' proposed $148 million facility would be used to fund infrastructure improvements around the new plant. The three entities would, under the deal, continue to receive tax payments on the land, or about 30 percent of what each would have received without the incentive.

Corporate welfare? Perhaps.

But all of the taxing bodies will continue to receive what they do currently. And after 20 years, taxes on a $143 million facility probably will come in quite handy.

Maybe it's better to call it corporate investment.

The York County Commissioners Wednesday unanimously approved the agreement, joining the school district. Hopewell Township officials are expected to take vote at a Jan. 3 hearing.


The bottom line: If this deal is done, 1,000 jobs will stay in York County -- although employees might have a longer commute -- and help bolster the local economy.

Yet, even if Hopewell signs on board, Johnson Controls financial adviser warned at Wednesday's commissioners meeting there's no guarantee the company will choose the southern York County site.

There's a site in Maryland it's also eyeing, and a decision won't be made "for some time."

This reminds us a bit of Harley-Davidson's threat amid union negotiations a few years ago to move its Springettsbury Township operation to one of two other states.

After major concessions from workers and a $15.4 million incentive from former Gov. Ed Rendell, the motorcycle maker decided, well, yes, maybe it could make a go of it in York County after all.

The tactic worked so well here, Harley later used it on unions at its plants in Wisconsin and Missouri.

Hopefully, Johnson Controls isn't playing the same game -- pitting the economic interests of two regions against each other to see which one will cough up the sweetest deal.