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Company wins more time to open Troy plant

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By Vince Luecke

TELL CITY - The Tell City Common Council has granted a Waupaca, Wis., company's request to extend the time it has to begin operating a new machining plant near Troy.

The city entered into a land lease-purchase agreement with Automated Machine Products in early 2006 after the company announced plans to construct and equip a 32,000-square-foot plant in Tell City's industrial park it said would machine specialty automotive products.

The plant is located just off Indiana 545 near Waupaca Pallet and according to a News story from January 2006, will obtain raw castings from Waupaca Foundry near Tell City and finish them for customers. At the time, company officials said the total investment would reach $2.4 million.

The metal-clad building has been erected over the past year but reduced demand for heavy-duty trucks has slowed, delaying start-up plans for the local plant, company president Mike Berry told city-council members Nov. 5

New standards for diesel engines put in place two years ago led to a burst of new-vehicle orders in 2006 as manufacturers hurried to beat the new rules. That boom, in turn, led to far less demand in 2007, meaning fewer orders for brake drums and rotors machined by the company.

Under terms of the company's agreement with the city, Automated Machine was supposed to have employed at least 15 people with a minimum $400,000 payroll by early 2008. However, those goals are no longer attainable.

Berry said he expects the market to recover and asked for the extra time so he can get the plant operating.

The council agreed, giving the firm until January 2010 to reach employment and payroll goals.

When those thresholds are reached, the company will be able to purchase the land on which the plant is located for $10. If the goals aren't reached, the agreement calls for the company to pay $60,000 for the tract.

2008 Elected Officials Salaries

Meeting on the eve of a municipal election, the council voted to approve 2008 salaries for elected officials. Under terms of the ordinance, Barbara Ewing will earn $53,359 next year as mayor, while Clerk-Treasurer Jenny Richter will be paid $39,813. The four district council members, Dianne Rudolph, John Little, Gerald Yackle and Gary Morton, will earn $5,411 for their services.

At-large councilman Tony Hollinden will earn slightly more, $5,535. The council's at-large seat has long been paid a slightly higher salary than the other seats.

The salaries reflect 3-percent raises given to appointed and utility employees in a pair of ordinances approved several weeks ago. However, the ordinance for elected officials' salaries is required by law to be advertised and is usually approved later in the year.

Police Business

In other business, the council approved an ordinance revising rules for Greenwood Cemetery to reflect new fees for a columbarium planned for the cemetery to store cremated remains.

The council approved plans for the columbarium this fall with Crawford Granite Sales of Tell City.