Council approves incentives for Shelco Foundries, gives workers a break on health insurance premiums
by Laura Gaddy
lbgaddy@annistonstar.com
Oct 14, 2013 | 3730 views |  0 comments | 68 68 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Shelco Foundry in Jacksonville. The Calhoun County Commission recently agreed to put $50,000 toward the company's expansion, which could create 106 jobs Photo by Trent Penny.
Shelco Foundry in Jacksonville. The Calhoun County Commission recently agreed to put $50,000 toward the company's expansion, which could create 106 jobs Photo by Trent Penny.
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JACKSONVILLE -- The Jacksonville City Council on Monday approved an incentive package to encourage Shelco Foundries to grow and voted to give city employees a break on their health insurance costs.

The council voted unanimously in favor of a measure that gives Mayor Johnny Smith the authority to execute an economic development incentive with Gnutti Carlo, the Italian-based parent company of Shelco. The council also granted the company's application for a tax abatement.

City leaders have been reluctant to discuss details about the incentive package for Shelco Foundries, but it will provide the company with $62,500. The council remained mum on the subject Monday and members passed the measure without discussion.

“I haven’t gotten any updates,” said councilman Jonathan Tompkins.

Tompkins also said the council is taking its cues from Mayor Smith regarding discussion on the possible expansion.

Gnutti bought the Jacksonville plant this year. Its 53 employees cast parts for car motors and the engines in heavy equipment. Shelco’s customers include Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Caterpillar Inc.

Also during Monday’s meeting, the council passed two resolutions that will change how much money the city contributes to employees’ health insurance. The first measure will allow the council to pay employees with individual coverage $200 each month if they drop their city coverage. The second will allow the city to absorb increases to health insurance premiums. Those increases will take effect in January.

According to city officials, approximately 30 city employees who have individual insurance also have health insurance through another source, such as through a spouse. Those workers are now eligible for the $200 monthly incentive if they drop their coverage with the city.

Currently, the city pays $394 in premiums for each employee who has individual coverage and after the first of the year the city will pay $404 for employees with individual coverage.

If all eligible employees take part in the program, the city would save $73,440 a year, said Jarrod Simmons, Jacksonville's financial control officer.

“Each person will just have to weigh what’s best for them,” said council President Mark Jones. “It’s not anything they have to do.”

About 26 city employees pay for family health insurance plans. In January their portion of the premiums were set to increase by $31 to $481, but the city voted to absorb the cost of the increase.

Staff writer Laura Gaddy: 256-235-3544. On Twitter @LJohnson_Star.

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