Huntington Aluminum is looking to expand, but is requesting incentives to make that happen locally.
Huntington Aluminum President Roger Kilty and Huntington County Economic Development Executive Director Mark Wickersham spoke before the Huntington County Commissioners requesting assistance for the project, which Wickersham said was about $3.2 million investment that would create up to 41 new jobs and retain about 43.
Wickersham said in an interview that the expansion is not a guarantee locally and said Huntington County was “competing with another state” that could see the entire company move.
“They need to know what the incentive dollars are going to amount to in order to know if (Huntington Aluminum) can afford to do the project. That’s ultimately the bottom line,” he said. “The state of Indiana is working together with Huntington County and the City of Huntington to try to make sure that we are as competitive as we can be in order to improve our chances that the facility will remain in Huntington.”
The City of Huntington’s CEDIT Advisory Committee has tentatively offered $125,000 in CEDIT funds for the project in lieu of a tax abatement, Wickersham said.
Kilty told the commissioners he would like to have $200,000 total for the project. He said he might also need assistance with a parking lot and electrical work for the addition.
“We’re at a crossroads,” Kilty said. “We either stay the way we are now and turn away work or we expand.” He added the company “turned away a million and a half pounds this week” of aluminum.
The Commissioners tentatively approved matching the city’s incentives with $125,000.
However, the commissioners must first request those funds from the Huntington County Council, which the commissioners voted to do Monday.
The commissioners have CEDIT dollars certified by the State Board of Accounts every three years, Wickersham said, and that total fund is divided into three years and into different categories.
Each year, unspent funds go back to the County Council, Huntington County Commissioner Tom Wall said. In order to spend those funds, the commissioners must then request them through an appropriation from the council.
Wickersham said the commissioners voted to get on the County Council’s agenda for the council’s July 28 meeting.
If the council does not approve the appropriation the commissioners will be unable to support the project in that capacity, Wickersham said. Huntington County Commissioner Leon Hurlburt said the commissioners only have about $37,000 left in those funds for this year.
Wickersham said that none of the incentive dollars would go to the company if the project is not done.
Wickersham also said Huntington Aluminum is also looking into receiving state incentive dollars from the Indiana Economic Development Council.
Wall said he was excited about the Huntington Aluminum project.
“It’s just a win-win for Huntington County,” he said. “He’s got nothing but growth going and we want to do what we can to keep him here and keep his business growing.”
“It’s a great project — he’s going to double what he’s doing and double his workforce, $14 an hour, some really good jobs for Huntington,” he said.
Huntington Aluminum, which opened in 2011, is a melting facility, which melts down aluminum into different forms then sells it back to companies.