CHAMPION - Trustees gave their approval Monday for Ohio Star Forge to make from $2 million to $3.5 million in improvements and additions to its Mahoning Avenue facility.
The move also could mean more jobs.
Ohio Star Forge officials met Monday with township officials and explained what they have planned as part of the expansion effort for their 4000 Mahoning Ave. facility.
Trustees Jeff Hovanic and Bill Templeton voted 2-0 approving a 60 percent tax abatement for 10 years on new real and personal property investments as part of an enterprise zone abatement request. Trustee Bob Farmer was absent.
Company officials will next attend the Trumbull County commissioners meeting at 10 a.m. Wednesday. The commissioners also have to act on the request.
A subsidiary of Daido Steel Ltd., a specialty steel conglomerate, the township site produces more than 14,000 metric tons of forging annually for the automotive industry.
William Orbach, president of Ohio Star Forge, said nothing will be finalized until energy rates are negotiated and the tax abatement approved. He said after that the plans will be given for approval by the board of Delaware-based Daido Steel Ltd.
Orbach said the total investment will be between $19 million and $26 million; that will include the additions, new construction, improvements to the existing building, new machinery and equipment, new furniture and fixtures and inventory.
The project is expected to begin in January with target completion in the fall.
Also, he said the company plans to hire an additional 26 to 30 new workers over three years after the completion of the project. Orbach said while the majority of the jobs will be skilled positions there will be a need for maintenance and other positions.
The company employs 95 workers - 25 percent of which are from Champion. With the new employees, the annual payroll would be $1.7 million.
''I see this as a win-win situation for all involved,'' Templeton said.
The company plans to add one new horizontal forging machine with larger size capacity than current operations. The expansion will require an additional manufacturing building, supporting equipment and upgrades to the existing facility.
Officials said the larger machine will increase the size capability of forged parts, which in turn will help the company to stay competitive in the global market and develop a new customer base.
Orbach said the company is seeking the tax abatement to help pay for the larger forging machine. He also said a big part of the project will be the need to get competitive energy rates since the company is a high energy user.
The market value of the existing facility is $606,000.
Residents at the meeting expressed support to the company's effort noting it has been a ''good neighbor'' and will help the community.
Jim Marrangoni said the request will help provide jobs to the area and also benefit the township and schools.
Other residents asked that the company keep residents updated on the progress of the project and capital improvements.