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04-23-03: 15 Auglaize County companies retain tax abatements; jobs low at Goodyear, GSW
The Daily Standard
    WAPAKONETA - Although a couple of companies fell short of their promised investments, Auglaize County Commissioners on Tuesday agreed to continue 15 tax abatement agreements with nine different St. Marys companies.
    A tax incentive review council looked over the agreements and recommended that commissioners continue them with no changes.
    The only abatements that drew questions from review council members were pacts for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and GSW Press Automation.
    Goodyear has met the investment terms of a 1995 abatement granted to help an expansion project. But a filing with the council shows the company had only 666 workers on staff at the end of 2002, below the 803 jobs it was supposed to retain as part of the tax relief pact.
    St. Marys Community Development Director Todd Fleagle said the company actually has about 720 workers based on current figures and recommended the tax abatement be continued.
   "I still think they're in a pretty decent situation," Fleagle said.
    Council members did not discuss ongoing labor negotiations at Goodyear. A current union contract has expired and the company has acknowledged intense financial pressures that will figure heavily into the negotiations.
    Council members also expressed concern about the tax abatement for GSW Press Automation, a German company that opened a new facility in St. Marys in 1998. The company had until the end of 2001 to meet investment and employment promises but the jobs have not yet been created.
    GSW's filing shows that it was supposed to create nine jobs but only three people worked for the company at the end of 2002. Fleagle said he expects a new manager - and fourth employee - to join the firm soon. After that, the business should begin to grow, he said.
    "That's one we're going to have to watch," Fleagle said.
    In other business Tuesday, the review council:
    - Continued three tax abatement agreements for AAP St. Marys Corp. The company's filing shows that all investment promises have been reached and the job creation has far exceeded expectations.
    - Continued an agreement for D&H Inc., the developer of the St. Marys Square shopping center.
    - Continued an agreement with Murotech Ohio Corp.
    - Continued two agreements with Omni Manufacturing Inc.
    - Continued an agreement for Parker-Hannifin Corp. The company has not met its job creation goal, but still has time to do so based on the original agreement.
    - Continued four agreements for Setex Inc.
    - Continued an agreement with T.G. Finetech. The Japanese company has yet to break ground on its St. Marys site. Company officials are waiting for the economy to turn around.


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