OTTAWA — Last year marked Putnam County's greatest economic growth since 1987, according to Martin Kuhlman, Putnam County Community Improvement Corporation director. And the CIC expects 160 more jobs in 2013.
Kuhlman said $450 million was invested in the county in 2012 with 175 new manufacturing jobs created and 300 jobs retained in the county.
He introduced Curtis Croy, CIC assistant director, during a Tuesday afternoon Ottawa Chamber of Commerce meeting at Schnipke Inn. Kuhlman said Croy gradually will assume his responsibilities this year. “And I will take a second seat,” Kuhlman said. “We are very hopeful this will be a good transition.”
Croy said the CIC expects 2013 to also be a very productive year, with 160 news job created throughout the county. This includes 67 new positions at KMI in Kalida, 12 new jobs at BK Tools in Kalida, 15 jobs at New Millennium in Continental, 35 jobs at three companies in Leipsic, 30 jobs at a company in Ottoville and a job at a Glandorf company.
“As you can see, companies are expanding throughout the county,” Kuhlman said. He said Putnam County is the only county among 19 in the area that has job-ready industrial sites in all its villages with water and sewer. “We have six job-ready sites in this county,’ Kuhlman said. “The foundation is in place for any industry looking for a place to locate.”
Kuhlman also said the job-ready site near Leipsic is expanding. He said the port authority for the region has purchased an additional 100 acres of land and hired the CIC as the agent to oversee the land. He expected an additional 80 acres to be purchased in this area by mid-2013.
“This area is for heavy industry,” Kuhlman said.
He also said the extension of the tax credit for wind energy will also affect this area, allowing for wind turbines to be constructed.
“This credit is for companies who have electrical bills of $100,000 or more a month. Wind energy can save these companies 40 to 60 percent of their bill,” Kuhlman said.
Kuhlman addressed a question about whether there was a shortage of workers.
“This is not the case in Putnam County. Higher wages make people come into the county,” Kuhlman said. He added Putnam County has the highest median income in nine area counties, with a median income of $53,820 in 2010, not including benefits. The nearest median income was in Hancock County, with $49,918.