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50 auto-related jobs possible at local firm

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By Thomas Barr

 SHEPHERDSVILLE — A local manufacturer could make an investment of over $21 million to expand its facility in Bullitt County.

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority gave preliminary approval to a request for tax incentives of $750,000 over a 10-year period.

Tower Automotive Operations USA was given the preliminary OK on plans to expand its plant on Cedar Grove Road and to employ 50 new workers.

According to information in its incentive application, the company, which is based in Livonia, Mich., supplies the automotive industry with body-structure stampings, frames and other complex welded assemblies.

The company has been awarded a new contract to manufacture automotive structural components for sports utility vehicles, which would lead to the expansion of its current facility.

To receive the incentives, the company must reach its job target of 50 new jobs, with an average wage of $22 per hour, including benefits.

Currently, the local facility has 181 full-time Kentucky resident employees, according to the filing.

The company would also be required to maintain 90 percent of the total employees who are Kentucky residents at all its facilities in the state, which includes a factory in Nelson County.

Under the program, the city of Shepherdsville would have to vote to give a 1 percent rebate on its 1.5 percent occupational tax. The employees continue to pay the occupational tax but the company would have the ability to retain the 1 percent for startup costs.

The $21 million investment would include $3,024,000 in rent, $1.4 million in building improvements, $12.6 million in equipment purchases and $4 million in other start-up costs.

John Snider, executive director of the Bullitt County Economic Development Authority, said it was great news for the area.

He said the addition of manufacturing jobs was always important to provide an employment mix. Also, he said the jobs were high-paying opportunities.