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Written by MARK JAEGER   
Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:48

Annual development report documents county success at attracting jobs

Ozaukee County’s business is completed another year of steady growth, according to the newly released 2013 annual report of Ozaukee Economic Development.

The report offers supporting evidence that the local economic picture is strengthening, according to OED Executive Director Kathleen Cady Schilling.

“I feel confident in saying that the economy is moving again and we are seeing more activity than we have seen since the recession began,” Schilling said.

“Businesses are definitely at the point where their pent up production is pushing them to move forward with expansions.  It is my hope that we will continue to see further activity as we move in 2014.”

The OED’s primary role is stimulating interest in local business development, whether by bringing new firms to the county or encouraging area employers to maintain their local roots.

In 2013, OED worked on projects with new and existing businesses that created 209 jobs and helped retain 150 existing positions.

Tracing its activities back to 2007, the agency has had a hand in projects that created 1,061 new jobs and retained 1,227.

As a point of reference, the most recent U.S. Census numbers showed there were 48,657 employees in the county working for 4,098 employers.

Using an economic impact formula designed by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Chamber of Commerce, the new jobs have had a cumulative economic impact of more than $85 million, according to the report.

That same analysis says the retained jobs have added $103 million to the county’s economy.

OED also serves as the marketing arm for the county’s revolving-loan fund program, coordinating loans in the cities of Port Washington, Cedarburg and Mequon, as well as the villages of Grafton and Saukville. Meetings were held last year with 69 businesses about the program.

Highlights include: $500,000 in state tax credits for Major Pharmaceuticals as part of its purchase of a building in Mequon, creating 50 new jobs; state tax credits for expansion at Sauk Technology in Saukville, which is expected to create as many as 123 new jobs; a $75,000 loan to K. Smith Fitness as part of a stock purchase of a local Anytime Fitness; and a $100,000 loan to Alliance Packaging in Saukville to purchase new equipment.

The report notes that OED staff held more than 100 job-retention meetings during the past year with businesses in the county.

During the year, the county’s role in the regional economy was represented by the OED’s participation in the Milwaukee7 Council.

Business forums were also coordinated in Saukville, Port Washington and Thiensville.

The agency also sponsored its first Business of the Year awards program and hosted its sixth annual outreach program, featuring comments on the economy by Kurt Bauer of Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce.

This year’s outreach program will be held Wednesday, April 30, at The Watermark at Shully’s in Thiensville. Joe Bartolotta, president of Bartolotta Restaurants, will be the guest speaker.

For details on the activities of OED, visit www.ozaukeebusiness.org.


 
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