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Timken to Seek New Incentives

Local Timken Co. officials Monday will ask the county for $245,000 in economic incentives they say could induce the Ohio-based company to invest $15.5 million for new production lines at its Lincoln County plant.

The investment would mean at least 30 new jobs paying $15 to $18 an hour at Timken’s bearing manufacturing plant in Iron Station, where workers produce anti-lock brake systems for light trucks and SUVs.

The Iron Station plant is competing with about 20 domestic and at least that many international Timken plants for the two new lines, said Scott Abernathy, the company’s IT and logistics manager in Iron Station.

Timken will seek two incentive grants from Lincoln County, one for a $12 million investment that would add at least 20 jobs and the other for a $3.5 million investment that would add at least 10 more jobs.

Laura Foor, existing industry coordinator for the Lincoln Economic Development Association, said she thinks an incentives green light would help persuade Timken’s corporate offices to expand here.

“It would set the bar high because of the competition between (Timken) locations,” Foor said. “We’re hoping they will pick this one.”

The county would not be liable for the grants if the plant is not awarded the new lines.

The incentives would be awarded as property tax reductions. Timken would receive $39,060 for the larger investment and $9,800 for the smaller investment. Both would be awarded annually for five years beginning in 2008.

“That’s where the incentive grants come in — to help sway upper management to bring the new business to this facility,” Abernathy said.

It’s happened four times in the past two years for the Iron Station plant, most recently in March, when Lincoln County commissioners approved a $49,367 incentive grant to be paid over five years for a $3.5 million expansion to the production line. By the end of 2004, that expansion will add 20 jobs paying $15 to $18 an hour.

Abernathy said he expects to know whether the Iron Station plant will get the new lines within the next three months if the county approves the grants.

Timken employs 650 workers in Iron Station.