By Ken de la Bastide
Tribune enterprise editor
With the announcement last week that the Steel Parts Manufacturing facility in Tipton could be closed by March 14, the Tipton Utility Board wants the company to provide a deposit covering a month’s bill.
Company officials informed the Indiana Department of Workforce Development that it expects to close the Tipton facility, but negotiations are continuing with United Steelworkers International Local 287.
The company wants the 146 union members, of a work force of 174, to agree to wage and benefit cuts and the stripping of union and seniority rights, according to Scott Sigler, union president.
Tipton Mayor Don Havens said Monday the Tipton City Utilities wants the company to provide a $118,000 deposit, which is a two month bill. He said the amount of the deposit is the average of the three most current bills.
Havens said the deposit will cover the bill if the company falls behind in a payment.
“It’s a precautionary measure when a major change might be expected from a major customer,” he said.
The company has filed an appeal of the deposit request and will be appearing before the Utility Board at 4:30 p.m. Monday in an effort to lower the amount of the deposit.
That meeting is on the same day that union members will be making a counter proposal to representatives from Monomy Capital Partners, owner of Steel Parts.
In other business, Tipton County Commissioner Joe VanBibber said the county is in the process of forming a committee to consider the possible expansion of the existing Tipton County jail or the construction of a new facility.
“We need more participation from the city,” VanBibber told members of the Tipton Common Council. “We have 15 people interested in serving on the committee, but most are from the county.”
He said residents of the city of Tipton will be obligated for one-third of the costs of a new jail or renovation of the existing facility.
VanBibber said the commissioners hope to appoint the committee Jan. 28, and the group will start organizing February.
Mayor Don Havens said he submitted his name to serve on the committee.
“There is a strong interest in the jail from a fiscal standpoint,” Havens said.
Consultants made a recommendation to consider consolidating the Tipton County Sheriff’s Department and the Tipton Police Department in the same facility, if a new jail is constructed.
The recommendation was for construction of a new 100-bed jail facility for Tipton County. The consultants estimated the cost at between $7 million and $11 million. The consultants said it would be difficult to expand the existing jail because of its current location.
Havens said there is an interest in locating the police department in the jail facility, indicating there could be a savings in administrative costs.