DELPHOS — The prospect of 200 new jobs and $100,000 water revenue with the Lakeview Farms expansion is certainly a positive for the city treasury, but the funds won’t show up immediately, Mayor Michael Gallmeier said Thursday.
After the loss of local government funds and a significant drop in income tax and water revenue after large employers closed their doors (including the facility Lakeview Farms will reopen), the city has been looking to shed expenses any way it can. It has laid off employees and in July will contract with the Allen County Sheriff’s Office for dispatch services.
In November, Delphos voters rejected an increase of 0.25 percent in the city’s income tax. The city has been trying to fill a $1.2 million hole in the general fund. The city also has a request on the Tuesday ballot for a 0.25 percent increase in the income tax for three years that would provide funds for parks and recreation, especially the city pool.
“We still need the levy,” Gallmeier said. “It’s going to bridge a gap.”
Many of the 200 jobs will be added by the end of this year, Lakeview Farms President Gene Graves said. Renovation work on the former Reser’s Fine Foods building at 1600 Gressel Drive will begin almost immediately, with the first production line being moved from a Wisconsin facility late this summer. Most of the expansion will happen in late fall, Graves said, and continue into early 2015.
The company will invest $12 million to upgrade and update the plant. Local contractor and real estate owner Keith Pohlman will own the building and has signed a 10-year lease with Lakeview Farms.
Gallmeier said the city needs some time to understand exactly how much income tax revenue will result from the jobs, which are all full-time but have a wide range of salaries.
“But it’s great news,” Gallmeier said. “We understand when people work, they’re shopping, buying groceries, improving their homes. It just snowballs.”