How did Norwalk land 230 jobs?

Jul 15, 2014


Congratulations to Norwalk. I would certainly like to know what secret economic tool Norwalk used for bringing 230 new jobs to the city.
Although Sandusky could still benefit from the new company being so close, it still isn’t the same as landing jobs for Erie County. Without any feedback, it is difficult to understand how the county’s economic agencies missed the mark. Was Erie County even in the running? It shouldn’t be an option for the economic agencies to use the excuse of confidentiality so the agencies can remain silent about why Erie County lost jobs to a small town like Norwalk.
Did Jobs Ohio present the RFPs correctly so that everyone had a fair chance at placing an offer on the table? Is there something ECEDC or the Port Authority could have done differently, and what can the agencies do to improve the bid package if the opportunity should present itself again? Erie County had more economic tools than Norwalk such as TIFs, tax abatement, and the newly formed Port Authority, and it still couldn’t land the bid for new jobs. I can understand losing to a bigger city, but I am having difficulty understanding losing to a small city like Norwalk, which is downright embarrassing.
At this point, does the city and county have to re-evaluate the money that is being funneled into the economic agencies? Sandusky and the county donate $30,000 each to ECEDC every year with the 
county throwing in an additional donation in the way of in-kind office space valued at $30,676.50 a year (public document). The grand total that Sandusky and county taxpayers are donating to ECEDC comes to about $90,676.50 a year. A 2012 public document has the ECEDC director earning $84,000 a year, which is probably more by now.
The Port Authority is being financially supported by the county until such time it brings in enough business to become self-supporting. The county has loaned the Port Authority $50,000 (public 
document) for startup money, and the county has reserved another $50,000 (public document) from its 2014 budget should the Port Authority need additional financial support. 
I have to give the county credit for protecting our tax dollars by having a written contract with ECEDC, something that Sandusky has never had with ECEDC. It is irresponsible for the city to hand over a large amount of our tax dollars to ECEDC without a written contract in place spelling out the performance terms.
When budgets are tight, the city and county should start looking at the extra $90,676.50 that could be available to the perspective budgets. Consultants are not cheap and the nonprofits should be financially self-sustainable or be dismantled. It is not financially sound for nonprofits to expect a long term financial relationship from the taxpayer so the non-profits can stay solvent. The more money that continues to flow into the nonprofits, the less money the governments will have to sustain the services that are needed to keep our governments operating.



"I am having difficulty understanding losing to a small city like Norwalk, which is downright embarrassing". What kinda statement is that? Norwalk has its problems but it isn't Sandumpy.


Re: "secret economic tool,"

No secret; just old fashioned taxpayer financed 'rob Peter to pay Paul' corp. welfare subsidies.

Ultimately, these tax gimmicks don't produce the tax & income revenue as predicted by the politicos - smoke and mirrors.

The mayor's a Repub - go figure. Thought that they were supposed to be the 'smaller govt.' guys?

The Bizness

Sharon, Maybe Erie County was never even looked at by this company?

I would say this though, if I was a local commissioner, mayor, or city manager. I would spend a lot of time trying to court industry to our back yards.


Sharon has a good point and you have a good comment.

Come to think of it , when was the last time a company came to Sandusky?


Companies used to come ... look, and the City never pursued them actively and many times just didn't follow up. Same old story -- wash, rinse, lather, repeat.


How did we miss out on the jobs American Colors is creating out of state?

Sometimes it seems like these economic development folks create their own jobs and that's about it.


That sounds right to me.


uaw sees growth opportunity in Norwalk, Ohio.

bring it on......

yea right

they gained some and lost twice as much

The Answer Person

They don't have watchdogs maybe?


"It shouldn’t be an option for the economic agencies to use the excuse of confidentiality so the agencies can remain silent about why Erie County lost jobs to a small town like Norwalk." - If the company wants their plans to be kept silent, then it is their right. You should never put your negotiation chips on the table for all to see because then you lose the upper hand. Simple business practice.

You make it sound like Norwalk is a little 1 stoplight town with horse and carriages still. Maybe, just maybe the company didn't want Sandusky/Erie county to begin with.

Kobayashi Maru

Norwalk wasn't even being considered until local officials contacted them. A lot of hard work went into it Sharon. Your column is nothing but sour grapes.

You said it's embarrassing Sandusky lost to little-old Norwalk. What's embarrassing is your childish attitude. Grow up!


Thanks for making Ms. Johnson's point. Where is the hard work from the supposed economic development experts in Sandusky?


repeat post


Congratulations to Norwalk. The City, Economic Development Department and the business community worked hard to get the project and they should be applauded for their efforts. The statement that ECEDC or some other agency isn't doing its job because Sandusky didn't get the project is uninformed opinion. Many cities across the region compete for projects like this, site selectors look for many criteria (available land, employment rates, tax rates, incentive, private investment, etc) to narrow possible sites prior to entertaining offers from cities. I would challenge anyone to find 27 acres available for immediate development inside the city. If that's a criteria for a company, Sandusky would be immediately disqualified.

In addition the great team effort by the Norwalk group, two other factors made Norwalk a great choice for the new company. 1) A group of local investors is going to build the building with private equity and rent it back to the company. Having a local group invest a large amount of private capital into the project it a huge part to why the deal got done, without it the company probably looks for a different location. This investment is not a function of Government, an Economic Development Agency or a Port Authority - it the good fortune that local investors would take the risk. 2) Although the deal was in the works for months, the expectation is that they will start construction within 6 weeks of announcing the deal. For anyone who has every tried to get a permit or approval from the City or the County, this is the most the surprising part of the plan. The is a 0% change that in our area you submit plans and get all the necessary approvals within that time frame.

I encourage our local leaders to spend more money on attracting new business, money effort to streamlining the process to review plans & issue permits, more time on building a team to of government officials and private investors to effectively pursue new projects.


To paraphrase a favorite line from "Blazing Saddles":

"We Don't Need No Stinkn' Jobs"....we have tourist $$$.

Norwalk can relish their UAW wage jobs, Sandusky has admission tax.



Sandusky can't even get locals to work at Cedar Point seasonally. How do they expect them to hold a full time job? Most that work at Ventra get fired for excess points or can't pass a drug test to begin with. Texting, video games & mom's basement are much more exciting.

Really are you ...

Isn't it awesome! Only one other Borgers plant in the United States! And they chose to open a new plant in Norwalk. Some people that believe in Norwalk did an exceptional job at grabbing Borgers attention.

Not to steal the spotlight from Borgers and Norwalk. But however you want to look at it, a highlight or a thorn in your side. I still believe I can create 750 jobs/ careers with the production of this SPEG device.