Despite being turned down by the Goshen, Ind., City Council for two proposed tax breaks, Cequent Towing Products announced Wednesday (Sept. 1) it would move ahead with its plans to bring $3 million in new equipment and 36 more jobs to the Southern Elkhart County plant.
However, local economic leaders were concerned the denial could send a bad message to other companies looking to grow in the Goshen area, according to a report in the Elkhart Truth.
“My only comment is that Cequent Towing Products is disappointed,” said Colin Hindman, the firm’s human resources manager. “Overall, we are going to continue with our business strategies.”
The Goshen City Council turned down proposals by the vehicle hitch manufacturer for a $6 million abatement on equipment already installed and a $3 million break on other equipment.
Cequent produces a variety of RV hitches and towing accessories under prominent brand names such Draw-Tite and Reese.
Council members narrowly defeated both measures after concerns were raised over how much the 36 jobs paid, how much of the project to bring in the equipment already had been completed and whether the company would leave town after the tax break expired.
Hindman noted that when Cequent moved factories to Goshen several years ago, it expanded and made more of a commitment to the city than its original plans had called for.
David Daugherty, president of the Goshen Chamber of Commerce, said he was surprised the council rejected the abatements, but his bigger concern was how Cequent’s parent company, Trimas of Bloomington Hills, Mich., and other businesses would view the decision in the future when they consider other new projects.
“I would hope that they understood that this is new to Goshen and it is something the council is struggling with to feel their way through it and make the right decisions,” Daugherty said.