By David Fenker
NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. – North Manchester’s newest industry received a helping hand from the town council Wednesday night.
The council approved both a rezoning recommendation from the town’s Plan Commission and a 10-year tax abatement, recommended by Grow Wabash County, for Warsaw-based Precision Medical Technologies at its Dec. 6 meeting.
Last week, the company announced plans to bring more than 60 jobs to North Manchester in the next three to four years, starting as early as March.
“We’re looking for a third place to land. We’re very pleased with Wabash County, and more so with the community of North Manchester. We’re very enthused about being part of your community,” Precision Medical Technologies Co-owner Jeff Thornburgh said, addressing the council.
“We’ll be bringing in probably about $5 million over the next three years, and our three-year plan for employees will get us up to about 65 employees at the end of three years.”
Thornburgh added that the North Manchester facility will focus on what he called disposable surgical instruments, which he said is a growing market in the orthopedic industry.
Also at the meeting was Indiana State Sen. Andy Zay, R-Huntington, who welcomed the company to Senate District 17.
“On behalf of the State of Indiana, thank you for your business investment,” he said to Thornburgh and his business partner Kurt Kamholz, who also attended the meeting.
“We’re excited to have you here in North Manchester. I, along with the council, can’t begin to tell you what that invest means to a small community like Manchester. I know they’re really looking forward to it.”
According to Grow Wabash County’s Tenille Zartman, who presented the abatement request to the council, Precision Medical Technologies’ plans to invest the town more than qualified the company for a 10-year abatement, giving it a score of 73 on the town’s approved tax abatement scorecard. A score of 40 is the minimum for the abatement.
“The number that jumps off this page for me is that they plan to add an additional 60 jobs, for $2.7 million in payroll annually, which equates to about $22 per hour, or $45,000 a year per person, which is, like the press release said, 24 percent higher than the average wage of Wabash County,” Zartman said.
The council unanimously passed a resolution granting Precision Medical Technologies’ request, as well as the first of three readings of an ordinance rezoning the property the company purchased in North Manchester.
Building Commissioner Steve Shumaker passed on the Plan Commission’s recommendation to rezone the property from Business General to Limited Industrial, reversing a 2011 change made at the request of Crossroads Bank, who had possession of the property at that time.
Per council bylaws, the ordinance must pass two more readings before taking effect.
“We really appreciate everybody involved, and wish you a lot of success,” Council President Jim Smith said.
Additionally, the council approved the second reading of the town’s salary ordinance, and received four bids for the eighth project of its state-mandated Long-Term Control Plan, which separates the town’s storm and sewer water systems.
The salary ordinance will receive a final reading at the council’s next meeting, and the bids were taken under advisement.
For more from the meeting, see the Dec. 13 issue of the News-Journal.