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October 2, 2014

Oxford Auto supplier plans expansion, no new jobs expected

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Posted: Tuesday, July 8, 2014 8:33 pm | Updated: 8:37 pm, Tue Jul 8, 2014.

OXFORD — A previous expansion at an Oxford auto supplier added more jobs than had been expected, and city officials agreed Tuesday to continue a previous tax abatement for the company for another 10 years.

Hoover Universal and Johnson Controls operates the manufacturing facility on Alabama 202 in Eastaboga in joint partnership with Bridgewater Interiors. The company, which opened in 2003, makes seats and interior parts for the Honda automotive plant in Lincoln.

Bridgewater employs more than 435 workers, said Don Hopper, executive director of the Calhoun County Economic Development Council. City officials expected the $4.2 million expansion to create 87 new jobs in 2013. That number, however, turned out to be 187, they said.  

Bridgewater also plans a $6 million expansion, Hopper said, but no new jobs are expected from it.

Rob Conklin, plant manager at Bridgewater, said the expansion would allow the company to increase capacity and stay competitive.

Council members agreed to an additional 10-year, non-educational ad valorem tax abatement, estimated to cost the city between $120,000 and $130,000.

In another matter, council members agreed Tuesday to amend a previously approved bid to build a baseball field for children with special needs for Oxford’s “A League of Our Own.” The youth baseball program is for children with physical or developmental disabilities.

Council members on June 25 approved a $435,400 bid from Forsyth Building Company to construct the field, which is to be near the city’s softball fields on Recreation Drive. The council on Tuesday agreed to approve two alternate bids previously submitted by Forsyth, bringing the total of the project to $454,100. The change was needed to ensure fencing around the field would meet the standards of the bid, council members said.

Oxford resident Ginger Munroe started the program in 2011 with just 18 players. More than 80 children played in the program during the 2014 season.  The field is expected to be completed in early December, said Council president Steven Waits.

In other business, council members agreed to:

— Declare as surplus 29 city-owned vehicles and equipment, to be sold through an Internet auction website.

— Change the next council meeting date to July 22 at 6  p.m. at Oxford City Hall.

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