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JCIDC ANNUAL REPORT
Companies say lack of interstate, suitable facilities hurt area's chances
Tuesday, January 14, 2014 10:00 AM
The Jefferson County Industrial Development Corp. received leads on 24 manufacturers that expressed an interest in relocating to Jefferson County in 2013, officials said at their annual meeting Monday night.
Of those leads, 17 came from the Indiana Economic Development Corp., according to the group's executive director, Nathan Hadley.
Though none of the companies ended up establishing themselves permanently in Jefferson County, Hadley said he had received information on why they didn't move here.
Fourteen of the companies - none of whom were listed by name - said there were no suitable buildings available. Most companies want energy-efficient buildings with high ceilings that are optimal for production, Hadley said, something that Jefferson County does not have.
The remaining three said the county's lack of access to an interstate was the biggest reason they didn't relocate here.
Currently, there are two projects Hadley classified as being "on hold" and two that are actively being pursued.
Hadley and JCIDC also circulated a survey to nine industries in the community to get a feel for upcoming trends in 2014.
Of the nine surveyed, seven projected they would be adding jobs this year. The estimated number of new positions was 85.
In the same survey, five companies said they would consider themselves in a healthy position compared with 2012. Two companies felt challenged, while two more said they were stable.
Gary Kennon, the 2013 board president, opened the hour-long meeting with a brief recap of issues the board faced in 2013.
"Certainly, 2013 was an interesting year for JCIDC," Kennon said while introducing the program.
JCIDC created changes in the past year after it was criticized by some city officials over the way business had been conducted. The group reinvented itself, complete with a new and smaller board with new leadership, Kennon said.
Its goal became more focused, specifically on recruiting new industries, retaining existing industries and improving the quality of life while doing so.
Dwayne Cole, the board's treasurer, discussed the corporation's finances for 2013. An original budget estimated the corporation would have $155,125 in income, which would actually end up costing the group money over the course of a year.
But after not spending as much as anticipated in the areas of marketing and training, it came out of 2013 with $29,416 in income.
Hadley also provided some numbers related to manufacturing in Jefferson County and the surrounding counties.
Unemployment in Jefferson County is around 7 percent. In recent years, there has been a steep decline in the total number of manufacturing jobs followed by a slight increase to present day.
"This is in line with the trends in the state of Indiana," Hadley said.
The average weekly wages for factory workers was also increasing in the state. By the end of 2013, the average factory worker in Indiana made $1,000 a week. Hadley said the average manufacturing job pays better than the county average.
Roger Williams will be the president of the JCIDC board this year. Dave Ungru will be the vice president. Bill Hensler and Cole will remain secretary and treasurer, respectively.
The remaining members of the board are Damon Welch, Mark Cash, Lisa Hammock, Ashley Schutte and Treva Shelton.
Former board members Margaret Seifert and Dan Baughman, who are not returning for 2014, were recognized for their service to the group.
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