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Elyria offers incentives so Crane Aerospace/Lear Romec can expand

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ELYRIA — In an attempt to retain and create high-paying, skilled jobs, Elyria officials have offered Crane Aerospace/Lear Romec more than $2.3 million worth of incentives to expand its facility on South Abbe Road.

The total value of the incentive package — including an Enterprise Zone Agreement offering the company a tax savings, a possible income tax rebate on new jobs, an environmental assessment, assistance with site preparation, building permit fee discounts and workforce attraction and retention resources — is an estimated $2,313,563, according to Mayor Holly Brinda.

City Council must still sign off on the incentive package, which will be presented Monday to council’s Community Development and Finance committees. Pending the committee’s approval, the matter will be heard at the July 1 City Council meeting, Brinda said.

“Ultimately (City Council) will have to approve the incentive package July 1, but this package has been presented to the company and they have accepted it,” she said Thursday. “We’re really excited about that.”

The incentives are contingent on Crane Aerospace/Lear Romec completing a proposed $4.75 million expansion at its facility at 241 S. Abbe Road or a proposed $8.5 million expansion across the street, leading to a net gain of an estimated 34 jobs in the city.

Lear Romec was founded in 1904 and purchased by Crane Aerospace of Lynnwood, Washington, in 1990, according to its website. It makes pumps and fluid systems primarily for commercial and military aircraft and aircraft engines. Company officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.

Crane Aerospace/Lear Romec “is the kind of company we want to grow in Elyria, with high-paying jobs,” Brinda said. “People don’t understand that all this aerospace industry is right here in Elyria.”

As part of the Enterprise Zone Agreement, through which the business can get tax exemptions on new investment, the city will offer a 75 percent tax abatement over 10 years. Approval from the Elyria Board of Education would be required for any agreement exceeding those numbers.

According to the city, the company could see a net annual tax savings of more than $165,700 and a total tax savings of almost $1.66 million over 10 years on the $8.5 million construction project. The $4.75 million expansion project could save the company more than $92,600 annually or more than $926,000 over 10 years, according to the city.

The city also is willing to grant the company up to a 75 percent rebate for up to 15 years on municipal income taxes received from a net return on new jobs created — as long as it meets proposed hiring and retention goals.

Brinda said the city also is excited that Crane Aerospace/Lear Romec could expand across the street to property at 222 S. Abbe Road as part of a proposed $8.5 million expansion project.

If that project comes to pass, the city has offered to work with the company on the demolition of the existing building at 222 S. Abbe Road (estimated value $50,000 to $75,000); removal of demolition debris; abating surface drainage issues (estimated value, $10,000 to $15,000); extension and tie-in to the city sewers (estimated value $60,000); a 50 percent discount on the water main tie-in fees (estimated $3,000 to $5,000); or a 50 percent discount on sanitary sewer tie-in fees (estimated value $5,000 to $10,000) — or a combination of the above, according to its offer.

The Phase II Environmental Assessment in the incentive package is worth an estimated $35,000, and will use funds from a federal brownfield grant — requiring preapproval by the federal government prior to the transfer of property to the company. The assessment does not include the cost of asbestos abatement.

Building permit fee discounts could save the company another $35,000, and the city also offered to include the company in its Elyria Works Now! workforce development program and with state and local jobs programs to help attract, hire and retain skilled workers, according to the city’s offer.

Crane Aerospace/Lear Romec most recently was in the news when workers represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 1849 briefly went on strike May 19 after rejecting a contract offer from the company.

Less than 24 hours later, the union ratified a new four-year contract that included a more than 10 percent wage increase over four years, bonuses, caps on employee health care contributions and added contract language guaranteeing job security, representatives of management and the union told The Chronicle-Telegram.

Contact Dave O’Brien at 329-7129 or do’brien@chroniclet.com. Follow him at @daveobrienCT on Twitter.


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