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Kettering competes with Georgia, Mexico for Tenneco expansion

Four communities applying on behalf of six companies are seeking nearly $1.7 million in Montgomery County development funds to create what the businesses say could total nearly 550 new local jobs.

By far the largest request — in terms of job potential — comes from Kettering, which has asked county government for $500,000 on behalf of Woodman Drive auto parts producer Tenneco Automotive Operating Co. Inc., which could double its local workforce.

That request, according to the county, could lead to the retention of 478 jobs and create 483 new jobs.

The Tenneco proposal has been in the works for a while. In August, the company received a 1.724 percent, nine-year job creation tax credit from the Ohio Tax Credit Authority for its plans. A spokesman for Tenneco didn’t comment on the project in August, and didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment Wednesday.

Kettering has also offered Tenneco a grant worth about $1.5 million over five to seven years to move the project forward.

Gregg Gorsuch, Kettering development director, said the city was in competition with Georgia and Mexico for the Tenneco expansion. But he’s confident the company has selected the Kettering site, subject to local and state incentives.

“Really, the (Montgomery County grant), in my mind, is the final piece of the puzzle,” Gorsuch said. “They (Tenneco) like this location, subject to state and local incentives being approved. It’s a great project.”

The company is waiting on a final county decision before committing fully to expanding in Kettering, he said.

The second largest request, in terms of possible new jobs, comes from Union, on behalf of Te-Co. That request, for nearly $789,000, would keep 55 existing jobs and create 38 new ones, according to the application for development funds.

Elsewhere, Trotwood is asking for $250,000 for Storage of America to create 10 jobs there.

West Carrollton is asking for $100,000 for Johnson Machining Services, with seven new jobs and seven current jobs at stake.

Besides Tenneco, Kettering is asking for funds for two other companies in that city. NanoSperse seeks $55,000 in a project it says would create six new jobs, protecting eight existing jobs. And Prime Controls wants $35,000 to create four new jobs, retaining 11 new jobs.

Montgomery County released the development applications late Tuesday. In all, 559 existing area jobs would be retained or kept in the area through the funding, the applications say.

The county has $996,465.99 in ED/GE funds available, so not all requests will be fully funded.

A committee examines requests for development funds — called “ED/GE” (Economic Development/Government Equity”) grants — before making recommendations to the three-member County Commission, which gets the final say on which projects are funded.

The ED/GE committee will meet Nov. 16 and Dec. 9 to decide on funding recommendations.

“We had a strong spring 2016 cycle with 10 projects, and the applications we received for fall 2016 seem to be quality projects as well,” said Michael Norton-Smith, an economic development specialist for Montgomery County.