COSHOCTON – Next year, the Coshocton Kraft facility will become the company’s sole bacon manufacturer, a designation that brings with it 300 manufacturing jobs, a $40 million investment and hope for an area that’s seen the loss of almost half of its manufacturing positions since 2000.
Coshocton was the perfect place for the Kraft to move its bacon production, representative Joyce Hodel said, because it already produces about two-thirds of the company’s stock. The company was given a 60 percent, 10-year tax credit approved by the Ohio Tax Credit Authority for state and city job creation and an enterprise zone property tax exemption by the city.
“We’re doing this to build our manufacturing scale and lower our overhead and total costs,” Hodel said. “We thank the city of Coshocton and the State of Ohio for their support.”
The jobs, which are expected to pay an average of $14 an hour depending on the employee’s level of skill and experience, will generate about $8.7 million in payroll in addition to the $14 million already generated annually by the company. The decision also will provide high-paying jobs to a county with a 6.5 percent unemployment rate.
City and county administrators see this deal as a turning point for the county, which in the past 14 years has lost about 42 percent of its manufacturing jobs, according to the Port Authority, peaking in 2004 with the loss of General Electric, followed later that year by JII as well as Pretty Products in 2005 and Ansell Emont in 2011.
“There’s winners and losers, and in the last 10 years we’ve been on the losing side for some plant activities,” Mayor Steve Mercer said. “But we have a very stable manufacturing environment here in Coshocton, and what this announcement will do is begin a major rebuilding of some of that which we have lost.”
Coshocton Port Authority Executive Director Dorothy Skowrunski said she thinks Kraft’s decision to expand locally is going to have a significant economic influence on the area. She said she hopes the infusion of jobs will allow people who have to travel out of Coshocton for work to be able to find jobs locally.
“We know that in the past we’ve lost hundreds of jobs and several manufacturers,” Skowrunski said. “With this advancement, it’s a major investment in our community. … It gives them the opportunity to come back home to work.”
Job creation in Coshocton, however, means job loss at the Kirksville, Missouri, plant, which is expected to lose 275 of its 410 manufacturing positions upon the expansion.
The expansion is expected to begin its first phase in the spring of 2015, Hodel said, but no official timeline has been decided as of now. Mercer and Skowrunksi said the city and county will be working closely with Kraft to make sure everything moves smoothly.
“They have been an excellent partner in our community,” Mercer said. “We want to work with them in whatever capacity needed.”
From Coshocton Tribune | November 14, 2014
Anna Rumer | firstname.lastname@example.org | 740-450-6758 | Twitter: @AnnaRumerZTR