By Timothy Cox
Celina Aluminum Precision Technology (CAPT) is expanding to make room for a new production line.
CAPT, located just outside of Celina on Staeger Road, employs about 411, mostly in the manufacturing of pistons and lower engine blocks for Honda. The latest expansion, which will involve making parts for automotive suspension systems, will add at least 10 and possibly as many as 54 jobs at the plant during the next couple of years. The company could spend nearly $20 million on the expansion.
CAPT officials have sought a tax abatement agreement in exchange for its investment and creation of new jobs. Celina City Schools board of education members are to consider the issue at Monday's regular school board meeting. Jefferson Township Trustees also meet Monday to discuss the same issue.
Representatives from those groups and county government already have privately negotiated the terms of the tax abatement. The agreement now needs only the approval of the school board, trustees and county commissioners.
The abatement would forgive 100 percent of taxes on new equipment and inventory for 10 years. Each year CAPT would pay an amount equal to 25 percent of the forgiven taxes directly to Celina City Schools. In exchange for the tax relief, CAPT will add at least one new production line. If the move works out, a second line could be added that also would be covered by the tax abatement. Ten full-time workers would be necessary to run one new line with a total investment of about $7.5 million. If a second line is added, CAPT would add as many as 54 new jobs and spend $19.7 million on new equipment.
Dennis Lee, CAPT's senior manager, could not be reached for comment this morning. The company reportedly is planning a formal announcement of the expansion for sometime next week.
CAPT began production in 1996 with about 50 workers. The plant has seen numerous expansions and new production lines since then. The factory now turns out about 6.5 million parts annually.
"It's really amazing when you think about how they've grown in only about eight years," Mercer County Community Development Director Larry Stelzer said.
The expansion also is good because it further diversifies the plant's production capabilities, Stelzer said.