Archbold, OH

Arend: Get Local Companies Out Of Auto Supply Business

Lisa Arend, Fulton County economic development director, said Fulton County industries need to get out of the automobile business.

Many county manufacturing firms supply domestic and foreign carmakers. Many have suffered with the downturn in auto sales.

At least one Archbold auto supplier has closed, and a second will close soon.

Speaking to members of the Archbold village council, Monday night, Jan. 19, Arend said she wants Fulton County manufacturers to begin manufacturing parts for wind turbines and solar energy systems.

While the solar panels or turbines may not be manufactured here, everything from bolts and brackets to more elaborate parts could.

She said a recent meeting to discuss parts supplies for the wind turbine industry in Cleveland was filled to capacity practically before it was announced.

Arend told council members a recent decision at the state level states that if public economic development incentive money is applied to a building project, or even the relocation of a large piece of machinery, those working on the job must be paid a “prevailing wage,” which is often higher than most labor costs.

That drives up the costs of potential economic development projects.

“It puts us at a disadvantage,” she said.

Arend said the Ohio Economic Development Association has hired a law firm to review the prevailing wage laws.

She said the OEDA is working to allow local governments to continue to offer their own economic development incentives, rather than turning control of the incentives over to the state.

She also discussed grants that are available for economic development projects.

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