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Archbold Back In Contention For Unnamed Firm’s Factory




Archbold is back in the running as a site for an unnamed company to locate a production facility.

Jim Wyse, Archbold mayor, said he and others met with offi cials of the company, Monday, Sept. 29, to continue talks.

Wyse said right now, Archbold is number two, trailing a Michigan site- and it will take a lot to top what Michigan is offering.

Sick Days

The company has been looking at Archbold as a possible location for a production facility since 2006.

The Ohio Healthy Families Coalition conducted a petition drive to put mandated sick days on Ohio’s Nov. 4 general election ballot.

At a July 7 Archbold Village Council meeting, Wyse said company officials told him as long as mandated sick days were a possibility, the company would not locate in Ohio.

But after pressure from Ted Strickland, Ohio governor, and Sherrod Brown, U.S. senator (D-Ohio), the coalition announced Wednesday, Sept. 3, it would remove its sick days proposal from the ballot.

The coalition said it preferred the issue be addressed on a national level, and that it didn’t want the state to suffer through a damaging political campaign.

Back In The Game

With the Ohio sick days proposal off the ballot, Archbold was back in the running for the proposed new industry.

Wyse said on the morning of Thursday, Sept. 4, he called and emailed the president of the unnamed company.

The president, who was out of the country when news of the removal of the sick days initiative broke, returned Wyse’s call, and Monday’s meeting was scheduled.

“The visit went well,” Wyse said.

“Both sides were very open with the offers that are currently on the table.

“It’s very clear what we need to do to be a player.

“We are going to have a tough time overcoming what we’re up against,” he said.

Free

So, what is the Michigan site offering?

“How about a free building?” Wyse said.

In Michigan, Wyse said the unnamed company is being offered a one-million square-foot building for free.

The owners of the building are looking at the state of the economy, and they no longer want to deal with the maintenance and upkeep the building requires.

Plus, giving away the building offers the owners tax advantages.

“They’re willing to give it away,” he said.

In Archbold, the unnamed company was being offered Sauder Woodworking’s West Barre Road plant, either on a purchase or lease arrangement.

The local company is consolidating the production of RTA, or ready-to-assemble furniture, into three factories from four, making West Barre Rd. available.

“There are some issues hanging out there that play in our favor,” Wyse said.

For example, he said there is the potential that the millionsquare foot building may have environmental issues. Cleanup and remediation of a chemical spill or other environmental problems could be expensive.

Also, Wyse said the Ohio Department of Development is researching whether Ohio’s tax structure would be more advantageous.

For example, Ohio’s Commercial Activity Tax, or CAT tax, might be better for the company than what’s being offered by Michigan or other sites.

Digging In

Wyse said right now, Archbold is number two on the company’s list, “but we’re digging our heels in,” he said.

The Ohio Department of Development is working with Lisa Arend, Fulton County economic development director, to develop an incentive package to lure the firm to Ohio.

In order to qualify for the state package, Wyse said Archbold must prepare an incentive package of its own.

The package is taking the form of income tax incentives, based on the number of workers the firm would employ. The company would get a rebate in income taxes paid if it reaches certain employment targets. The more employees, the larger the rebate.

“But there is only so much we can do.

“The fact is, the state is going to have to come up with a pretty good incentive package in order for this to happen,” he said.

Numbers

Wyse clarified the number of employees the plant could potentially employ.

Originally, the number discussed was 500 jobs.

The new number, he said, is probably closer to 150 to 200; but over time, that has the potential to grow to 500, and possibly more.

That growth would be “over a period of years.”

Wyse said village and other officials are hoping to have their proposals back to the company within a couple of weeks.

“Since we’re jumping back in the game, so to speak, we hope to have a decision in a month or two,” he said.


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