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Newton residents excited but skeptical at prospect of new jobs

Last month, wind turbine blade manufacturer TPI Composites officially opened its doors in Newton, promising 500 new jobs. Now an incentive plan by the city council hopes to add another 300 jobs. The problem, some former Maytag employees say, is that the county and state are paying for most of the cost of constructing the plant. They're worried that like Maytag, TPI could take the money and pull out of Newton. "I just hope they can live up to their agreements and continue to manufacture blades here in the community," said Maytag retiree Lonnie White.

Newton moves forward to add more jobs

It's been a tough year for the town of Newton. Last year, Maytag ended its 125-year history with the town, leaving 2,300 people jobless. But today, the Newton City Council approved a $1 million forgivable loan for one of the city's newest employers. That's in addition to $2 million coming from the county.

Last month, wind turbine blade manufacturer TPI Composites officially opened its doors in Newton, promising 500 new jobs. Now an incentive plan by the city council hopes to add another 300 jobs.

The problem, some former Maytag employees say, is that the county and state are paying for most of the cost of constructing the plant. They're worried that like Maytag, TPI could take the money and pull out of Newton.

"I just hope they can live up to their agreements and continue to manufacture blades here in the community," said Maytag retiree Lonnie White.

White worked at Maytag for years and was there when the company pulled out of Newton, after receiving millions of dollars in incentives. White says he's learned his lesson and will only endorse TPI if it promises to stay in town for the long haul.

"If there's some kind of guarantee they stay here for a certain number... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

Newton moves forward to add more jobs

It's been a tough year for the town of Newton. Last year, Maytag ended its 125-year history with the town, leaving 2,300 people jobless. But today, the Newton City Council approved a $1 million forgivable loan for one of the city's newest employers. That's in addition to $2 million coming from the county.

Last month, wind turbine blade manufacturer TPI Composites officially opened its doors in Newton, promising 500 new jobs. Now an incentive plan by the city council hopes to add another 300 jobs.

The problem, some former Maytag employees say, is that the county and state are paying for most of the cost of constructing the plant. They're worried that like Maytag, TPI could take the money and pull out of Newton.

"I just hope they can live up to their agreements and continue to manufacture blades here in the community," said Maytag retiree Lonnie White.

White worked at Maytag for years and was there when the company pulled out of Newton, after receiving millions of dollars in incentives. White says he's learned his lesson and will only endorse TPI if it promises to stay in town for the long haul.

"If there's some kind of guarantee they stay here for a certain number of years or have so many employees as a result," White says.

Today the city council signed an application for a $1 million incentive package from the state. TPI could also get $2 million from Jasper County, which is expected to officially approve the money Tuesday morning.

White says that's a whole lot of money for a few hundred jobs.

"The burden is placed back on the community and state to have these jobs available. Personally I don't think that should be," White said.

Newton's mayor says those jobs are worth all the cash.

"I understand everyone's concern, but I believe this is secure money," said Newton mayor Chaz Allen.

His town is hurting, and he says these are good jobs that will help Newton rebound.

"It's good to be concerned but I think we're doing the right thing here as a city to endorse opportunity," Allen said.

The only problem is, most everyone in Newton idealizes the Maytag history. To them, nothing will ever live up to the Maytag name.

"I don't think we'll ever see the manufacturing plant here in Newton that will pay benefits and wages like Maytag did," White says.

City leaders hope Newton can bring more renewable energy companies to town, and it will become a magnet for renewable energy plants and more jobs.

TPI isn't the only company to make its home in Newton. Trinity Structural Towers is currently renovating an old Maytag building. Trinity provides products and services to the industrial, transportation and construction sectors. The company employs about forty people, but hopes to increase that number to 125.


Source: http://www.whotv.com/Global...

OCT 13 2008
http://www.windaction.org/posts/17472-newton-residents-excited-but-skeptical-at-prospect-of-new-jobs
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