By KATY GANZ
A local business will expand to Killbuck, bringing 70 full-time positions to a village that lost more than 100 jobs in 2009.
Pride of the Hills received approval from the state Jan. 25, for a tax credit that will allow the company to expand to a 42,000-square-foot facility at Straits Industrial Park.
Pride of the Hills was started in Big Prairie in the 1970s as a repair shop for farm equipment, said Holmes County Economic Development Council Director Shawn Starlin. Since then, the company has branched out to provide equipment and service for the oil and natural gas industry.
The discovery of the Marcellus Shale, an underground deposit of natural gas running from New York to Kentucky, has led to increased demand for natural gas equipment, Starlin said.
As part of the company's deal with the Ohio Tax Credit Authority, the company agreed to create 70 full-time jobs and increase its payroll to $2 million. The expansion will almost double the company's work force, Starlin said.
The largest employer in Killbuck, and the last operating company at Straits Industrial Park, Rhino Rooms, closed in October. Rhino Rooms employed 100 people.
Having Pride of the Hills choose Killbuck for expansion is very good news, said Mayor Denny Hahn.
"It's huge," Hahn said. "There's been several buildings sitting empty down there and the addition of Pride of the Hills is a blessing. Hopefully some of the people in the town that lost their jobs from Rhino leaving can pick back up with Pride of the Hills."
The company will begin operating in Killbuck in the not-so-distant future, Starlin said.
"They are going to be doing some minor operations in order to accommodate their needs," Starlin said.
Hiring will most likely occur gradually, he said.
Council has been working since October to become part of the county's enterprise zone.
The application was approved by the commissioners earlier this month. But, the tax credit given to Pride of the Hills from the OTCA has nothing to do with the village's enterprise zone.
The company will receive a six-year, 40 percent tax credit on new employee withholdings. So, for an employee paying $100 in state income tax, Pride of the Hills will be able to credit $40 toward the other state taxes the company has to pay.
Pride of the Hills could not be reached for comment.
Reporter Katy Ganz can be reached at 330-674-1811 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.