ELKHART — The city council took the first step Monday night, July 7, toward approving what might be one of the more unique and impressive tax abatement requests the city has seen in recent years.
The council approved the initial resolution that opens the door toward a proposed seven-year tax abatement for CTS Corp., which plans to expand and add 14 jobs by 2017 or 2018.
While 14 jobs is not a large number, the positions will pay an average of about $50,000, according to Barkley Garrett, director of economic development for the city.
“It’s not a huge number of jobs, but the wages are outstanding,” Garrett said.
The company, which provides equipment for the auto industry, plans to invest $2.2 million as a result of the new product line.
Tim Masters, plant manager for the Elkhart facility, said the expansion involves a new production line that will make electronic accelerator pedals.
The average salary for the new workers would be around $24 per hour.
Compared to many of the salary levels associated with abatement requests, Garrett said that CTS’s proposed salary level “ranks right up there with the best ones that we’ve had.”
The council approved the resolution unanimously and will consider two more steps within a few weeks to finalize the abatement request.
Councilman David Henke applauded the longstanding Elkhart company, adding “As much as I’m very reluctant on tax abatement, this is one I’d have to say is very worthwhile.”
The company manufactures sensors, actuators and other electronic components and has had a presence in Elkhart since 1902. Its clients, among others, include Honda and Ford, he said.
The proposed expansion comes alongside other changes. The company recently relocated its corporate offices a block or so to 1142 W. Beardsley Ave. and the company is in the midst of constructing a new a new analytical lab, Masters said.