Council throws support behind OFS expansion

By CANDY NEAL
cneal@dcherald.com

The Huntingburg Common Council publicly supported Tuesday OFS’ plan to expand its warehouse and transportation building at 1008 Styline Drive.

Prior to giving their support, council members asked questions about the affect the facility would have on the local job market and traffic.

The support is not an official approval of any of the project’s economic matters that will ultimately come before the council in the future.

“We are saying that we are willing to cooperate with OFS in this process,” Mayor Denny Spinner said at the council’s meeting Tuesday evening. “OFS needs some assurances to its investors to show that the City of Huntingburg is supporting this project moving forward, so they can continue their negotiations.”

The company plans to expand the Styline Drive building to the north, to 12th Street, and to the south, near Ninth Street. OFS hopes to start the three-year project, which will cost more than $10 million, this summer, attorney Bill Kaiser said.

OFS receives parts and supplies from national and global companies, which are used at its local plants. OFS wants to make the facility big enough to receive and store all parts materials the company receives. More docks will be added, making the facility the central location for its trucks to pick up materials to deliver to the different OFS plants.

As part of the project, OFS will request that the city separate the 17 acres of land on which the warehouse sits from the Northwest Industrial TIF District and make it its own TIF district, called Styline West, Kaiser said. OFS will also ask for permission to sell private-placement TIF bonds for the project, which Kaiser said will not involve any public risk. The Huntingburg-based company will also request that the city swap a half acre of land the city owns along Ninth Street between Styline Drive and Moenkhaus Drive, he said. For that, OFS will give the city a half acre of property located west of Styline Drive that runs south from Ninth Street.

When asked about jobs, Kaiser said there will be new positions, though he did not have an exact number. “There will be some realignment positions as we’re moving around these pieces,” he said. “We are moving in inventory management from other states. So there will be new positions.”

OFS is also trying to increase its efficiency, so it will make a significant investment in equipment, Kaiser said. “It’s not that there will be a loss of jobs, but we may not need as many jobs as we traditionally would, given the size of the facility that is being constructed,” he said.

Spinner added that the investment shows OFS’ commitment to stay in Huntingburg.

“It solidifies the jobs that are already here,” he said. “This investment means that work is going to be continued to be done in Huntingburg and secures the jobs that do exist here.”

When asked about traffic, Kaiser said there shouldn’t be a huge impact. “The Styline logistics facility is very close. Most of the trucks and truck repair shop is within a very short distance,” he said. “There is already some truck traffic that is already being used at this facility. We are going to rearrange some of that traffic.”

OFS will come back to the council at a later time with the official requests for the new tax district, bonds and land swap.

 

The council also:

• Hired Brevin Sternberg and Colton Frick as new firefighters for the Huntingburg Volunteer Fire Department. They will be sworn in during the Huntingburg Board of Public Works and Safety’s April 4 meeting, which will start at 8:30 a.m. at City Hall, 508 E. Fourth St.

• Heard no comments during a public hearing about future improvements to the water department infrastructure. The 100-year-old water main under U.S. 231 will be replaced from Second to First avenues, from First to Third streets and from Fifth to 12th streets. Also, upgrades will be made to the water treatment plant to double its capacity. The estimated cost of the improvements is $6.3 million. There will also be an option of including solar panels to help with the electricity costs at the plant, which would cost about an additional $700,000. The project will include obtaining a loan from the State Revolving Fund. The council accepted Midwestern Engineers’ engineering report on the project and designated Spinner as the person who will sign the documents concerning the loan.

• Hired eGov to redesign the city’s website with updated features to make it more efficient and user-friendly on various electronic devices. The $8,375 fee will be shared by the council and the city’s utility departments; the council’s portion will be $1,655.

• Gave Utility Superintendent John Reutepohler permission to get quotes for a new welding truck.




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