The good news continues on the local job front as for the third straight month, the Greencastle City Council has heard about an expansion project by one of the local industries.
Tuesday night the Council unanimously approved Resolution 2011-8, authorizing 10-year tax abatement for IAC Greencastle (formerly Lear Corp.). IAC will invest $8.8 million in new equipment to support additional operations at the auto parts manufacturing plant at 750 S. Fillmore Rd.
The project is expected to result in the retention of 466 jobs and the restoration of 255 additional positions at the facility.
Greencastle/Putnam County Development Center Director Bill Dory noted that most of the new equipment will be installed this calendar year.
IAC will begin hiring or rehiring workers by the end of this year and into next year as new contracts "ramp up," Dory said.
Dory noted that despite the abatement, which is done on a sliding scale over the 10-year period, IAC will still be paying taxes totaling $1.3 million over the next decade. And that doesn't include the additional income tax to be paid by the newly hired workers at the plant.
The 255 positions "coming back to the plant" will pay approximately $16 per hour plus benefits, it was noted.
During a public hearing on the IAC tax abatement request, company statistics showed that 40 percent of the firm's workforce resides in Putnam County and 29 percent in Clay County. The remainder reside in adjoining counties.
IAC makes automotive interiors for a full spectrum of automakers, Dory said, employing 22,000 people worldwide.
Dory also told the City Council that a new economic development report identifies Indiana as the best place in the Midwest to do business, and overall the seventh best state for doing business in the U.S.
In other business, the Council:
-- Approved Resolution 2011-9, authorizing the historic downtown facade improvement plan.
-- Approved street closings on the north and east sides of the courthouse square from 2-8 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21 to accommodate the Indianapolis Colts "Make It Personal" tour with interactive displays set up for fans. The public activity is scheduled 5-7 p.m. with the rest of the time necessary for set-up and clean-up.
-- Told Jackie Baumann, representing the Walking Wednesdays program that will encourages residents to get out and walk a series of pathways each Wednesday from June 1-Aug. 3, to monitor the group's registrations to determine whether or not police assistance will be necessary for crossing streets during some of the walks.
-- Heard Mayor Sue Murray report that bid letting is scheduled later this month on the Percy Julian Drive improvement project. The construction period has been established as May 31-Aug. 15 to coordinate with the end of the school and finish the project two days before school resumes for the fall.
-- Heard Councilor Jinsie Bingham report that a Friends of Forest Hill organization has been established to accept donations from the public to help fund small projects outside the department's budget at the city cemetery. She listed plantings, shelters and replacing trees lost during the ice storm as projects that could be funded through private donations.