The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Reality Check

June 25, 2008

Nordic Air a JEDD success story

HARPERSFIELD TOWNSHIP – While 2008 is shaping up to be a gloomy landscape for the national economy, things are looking good at Nordic Air in Harpersfield Township.

Owner Ron Clutter says the company has enjoyed six straight years of growth and 2008 is in line with that trend.

“Our outlook is continuing to still be very nice,” Clutter says. “Any type of growth is nice.”

Nordic Air produces climate-control equipment for a variety of markets, including the military.

“Every market we serve has grown,” he says.

Started in Jefferson by three partners, the company had 18 employees when Clutter purchased it. Nordic Air entered 2008 with more than 200 workers at its two plants in Harpersfield Township.

Clutter relocated Nordic Air to Harpersfield Township, but he ran into roadblocks when it came time to expand. The Environmental Protection Agency capped the size of his operation at 100 employees unless the plant hooked up to sewers.

Clutter presented his case to the city of Geneva and Harpersfield Township officials, who agreed to work toward extending sewers to what would become a joint economic development district (JEDD) located in Harpersfield Township. A JEDD is a separate taxing district set aside for economic development. Townships are not allowed to tax income per state law; however, creating a JEDD within that township establishes a taxing district.

Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County orchestrated the project.

“Growth Partnership was one our initial calls,” Clutter says. “Growth Partnership coordinated all that. They were the central office to bring all the different incentives together.”

Those incentives included low-interest loans for equipment to help the company expand and bring new jobs to the area. Clutter says he prefers low-interest loans from the state or the local 503 Corporation revolving loan fund to seeking tax abatements.

He says the JEDD has proven hugely successful, providing a rapid pay back on the loans while increasing the tax base. He is projecting at least $200,000 in income-tax revenues from the JEDD, much higher than the conservative $120,000 originally projected. Both Geneva and Harpersfield Township coffers will benefit from the revenue.

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