It’s official — the nation’s largest bus builder will have a facility in Elkhart, Ind.
The news was announced during a meeting of the Elkhart County Council in Goshen, Ind., Saturday morning (July 10), where officials with Chino, Calif.-based Creative Bus Sales Inc. were officially granted a five-year tax phase-in agreement that promises to bring as many as 85 new full-time positions to the area by 2013, The Goshen News reported.
A tax phase-in is a partial or temporary exemption of a company from having to pay property taxes with the purpose of stimulating economic development.
According to Dorinda Heiden-Guss, president of the Economic Development Corp. of Elkhart County, Creative Bus Sales is currently planning to invest approximately $478,000 in new machinery, equipment and computer/IT hardware and software into the new facility, which will be used primarily as an alternative fuels conversion/upfit operation.
The company, which brought the request before the board during their June meeting, will construct its new hub in the Champlin Industrial Park on the south side of Elkhart.
Heiden-Guss has indicated the company plans to convert new buses, trucks, RVs and vans from gasoline to run on compressed natural gas and propane fuel systems. She said if things go well with the phase-in, future projects at the facility could include vehicle sales of buses, vans, alternative fuel buses and Global Electric Motors cars.
Referencing the job creation expected to occur through the proposed project, Bill Anderson, service and operations manager for Creative Bus Sales, said during the board’s June meeting that of the 85 new full-time positions expected to be created, 30 to 35 positions will be filled immediately, with the remaining 50 to 55 positions being brought in over the next three years.
As for payroll contribution, Anderson believes the company is planning on paying an average hourly wage of $15 without fringe benefits, bringing the total estimated annual payroll to approximately $2.65 million.
Anderson said Creative Bus Sales is a family-owned business that started in California in 1980.
Since then, the company has evolved into the nation’s largest bus dealership with a net worth of $125 million and multiple facilities throughout the United States.
With a majority of its facilities located in the Western United States, Anderson said the company became extremely interested in Elkhart County due to its large pool of skilled, available workers.
“We want to tap into the area labor force,” Anderson said. “These are the people we want to get.”