Up to 130 new jobs connected to the refurbishing of buses will be coming to Nappanee, Ind., in the next three years, according to the Goshen News.
ABC Bus Inc. plans to locate a facility in Nappanee and is seeking a tax abatement.
The company is already advertising for a number of positions, including a production manager, paint and body technicians, lead technicians, mechanics and administrative support.
Vice President and General Manager Lee Loper explained to Nappanee City Council members June 7 why the bus company chose Nappanee over a location in Mexico.
“This project fits Elkhart County because of the manufacturing, the mentality and we wanted more of a rural setting rather than (being in) a city like Elkhart,” Loper said.
Loper was requesting a tax abatement from the city and said he’d visited Mexico and came back and contacted Dave Ogle of the Elkhart County Economic Development Corp. and began looking in the Nappanee/Wakarusa areas as well as Lagrange County.
“I knew we had the labor force and the local support; we just needed the property,” he said.
ABC Bus will be leasing property from Fairmont Homes at 502 Oakland Ave.
Loper is seeking a tax abatement for seven years in the amount of $701,800 for machinery and equipment. His company plans to create 130 jobs by the year 2013 with an average hourly wage (without benefits) of $15.13 with a total annual salary of more than $4 million.
The jobs are tied to a contract to overhaul 950 buses. The company’s website states the jobs are for, “… our new Nappanee, IN facility for a bus refurbishment project for a major national carrier. The project will last 12 to 18 months and we will be staffing up to 100 new positions.”
Clerk-Treasurer Kim Ingle explained to the council that both Fairmont and ABC Bus are named in the abatement paperwork since Fairmont is the owner of the property. Loper told the council that the project was bringing together two longtime family-owned companies, both of which want to put people in Elkhart County back to work.
The abatement will save the company $32,673 in tax payments.
“It took a lot of effort to put it together. We’re trying to put bodies to work. We’re happy to be here,” Loper said.
The council passed a resolution declaring the real estate to be in an economic revitalization area and set a public hearing date on the tax abatement request for June 21 at 7 p.m.
ABC Bus is part of ABC Companies. The company supplies parts and services to the passenger bus industry, refurbishes buses and sells and leases new and pre-owned buses. There are five company locations nationwide.