The City of Huron needs to stop poaching Sandusky’s companies

Hollie Newton
Jul 29, 2014


The Huron school board has approved a 15 year, 100 percent tax abatement to Central Ohio Paper and Packaging Company, which is located on Monroe Street in Sandusky. It makes the 
second time that the City of Huron has poached a company away from Sandusky in the last few years. 
There is a need for Sandusky to solve the poaching problem. ECEDC has an anti-poaching agreement in place, but it isn’t any good if the cities are making deals on the side. Companies are free to relocate to another city and the entities are free to persuade companies to relocate, but the host city should be notified before a deal is finalized. 
All entities in Erie County should sign an anti-poaching agreement. Cuyahoga has an anti-poaching agreement in place with the surrounding cities because the entities are recognizing there is a problem with poaching. Just recently, Norwalk poached a company away from Huron. Is there a need to extend the anti-poaching agreement further out beyond Erie County, especially where Norwalk is concerned? Lately, Norwalk has proven to be aggressive when it comes to seeking out jobs. I give Norwalk credit for going after the jobs, but the process needs to be a fair and balanced process. 
All of the entities are struggling to retain jobs. There aren’t many opportunities for new industry to come into the area, so it is vital for any neighboring entities to recognize the need to extend the courtesy to the host city so a fair bidding process can be initiated. I am sure the City of Huron would not like it if Sandusky poached a company from Huron without any notification, and likewise for Norwalk.
Sandusky cannot afford to lose any more jobs. Some of the city’s financing problem stems from the vanishing income tax base. There aren’t many good paying industrial jobs left and what jobs 
the city does have are being poached.



No, the city needs to get it together.


It is very costly to move a facility like that.. give them a reason to stay.


downthemiddle is right: a move of that nature is QUITE expensive! So the real question we should ask here is not how we can prohibit (or at least hinder) Huron, Norwalk, etc. from "poaching." It's also not how Sandusky might "poach" from other communities. Shouldn't we be asking ourselves instead what made the company willing to listen to poachers? Happy companies don't do that...


Lmao! Who in their right mind would want to move to high crime Sandumpy?


"Shouldn't we be asking ourselves instead what made the company willing to listen to poachers? Happy companies don't do that..." - So Right! If a company is willing to relocate, there is clearly a problem with the area they are in now. They don't just pick-up and move because they feel like it and want to spend some money.

AJ Oliver

Good article - informative, and well written and researched.
This is a main cause of local tax bases being eroded, and the wealthy not paying their share of taxes. Try to get that deal as a working class homeowner - FUGGETABOUTIT !! In fact, we pay more because they pay less.

JMOP's picture

Local taxes are suffering because the wealthy don't pay their fair share of taxes? What do you consider "fair" and are you going by percentage wise or the actual amount of money being paid in?


So what do you suggest, AJ? That companies pay higher taxes? That large companies pay the most of all? Ooooh, THAT'LL make businesses want to stay in/move to Sandusky!


Re: "we pay more because they pay less."

One person's subsidy is another person's tax.

So some corp. welfare is good and some isn't?

Horace Mann

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem. This columnist is all about attacks and second-guessing, with rare and sophomoric positive suggestions.

JT Adams St

In this case, she's right. There's no gain to the regional economy if economic development consists of companies extorting tax abatements from local communities by moving from Sandusky to Huron to Norwalk to Sandusky.

Horace Mann

Not really. Yes, tax abatement just pits communities in a race to the bottom. It's a zero-sum game, completely unfair. But stopping all so-called poaching county-wide will just drive companies out of the county, and if you stop it state-wide, you'll just drive them to other states. Johnson's blaming and second-guessing local officials when there's no assurance that her simplistic solution won't make things worse.

The system of tax giveaways to the wealthy at everyone else's expense is rotten but it's nation wide and you can't fix it from the bottom up; it can only be fixed with national policy, but that's another discussion.

What we CAN do is make this county a great place to live with great education. Employers that pay well need and want and look for places where they can recruit qualified people. They can't do that where people don't want to live or where the education system is bad.

Employers need other resources, too: transportation, communication and utilities infrastructure, materials, suitable land. We obviously can't be all things to all people but we we can make sure employers know what we have to offer.

We need to make keep making Erie County better in every way we can, and keep getting the word out, even better, so that employers know what we offer, and want to locate here, and want to live here. And if you're not part of that solution, you're part of the problem.


"What we CAN do is make this county a great place to live with great education. Employers that pay well need and want and look for places where they can recruit qualified people." - Well said.

Everyone is always worried about companies leaving, yet they refuse to move forward and better the area to support the residents and ultimately attract businesses and retain the ones they have. Businesses need talent, businesses go where the talent is.

If your city is mostly blue collar, low wage jobs and your resident demographic reflects that, don't expect Google to move in.

The Bizness

I think our city needs to start attracting some advanced manufacturing and tech jobs into the area. Someone that will expand and build. We have plenty of spaces available.


"tech jobs into the area." - That wont happen. Our infrastructure (Telecom/Electric) and location do not warrant a good area for Tech Jobs due to cost. Most in the tech field prefer there cities/areas where there is a lot more available to them (myself included, I'm here because I grew up here, but I wish I had some of the perks of the Tech Job Meccas)

The Bizness

Servers need to be cooled, we have a lake ;)

I am just dreaming but it wouldn't hurt to try to draw some our way. I think Mr. Wobser will be out doing just that.


If we could only use that as a selling point, lol.

I would love for more tech companies to come into the area, get moving Mr. Wobser!

The Bizness

Btw we also have NASA, great road and rail access, and central to Cleveland and Toledo could also be selling points. I actually email companies personally reaching out to them when I think we have a good fit for them. Once again, it is me just dreaming but it doesn't hurt to try.


Silicon Bay has a nice ring to it.


Just speculating, but maybe the current ownership already lives in Huron...Wouldn't be the first time that a business owner wanted to have his business closer to home.


I'm also trying to find a way to get out of Sandusky. Anyone want to buy my house half of its appraised value?

Horace Mann

That depends. Whose appraisal? What's it really worth? If it's properly marketed for a sufficient amount of time and you can't sell it, you're asking too much more than it's worth. People often let a place fall apart, slap a coat of paint on it, and then wonder why it doesn't bring the same price as a [not really] "comparable" property.

In a weak market, which we still have, if housing codes are not enforced, a house in bad condition is worth more as a slum rental that as a fixer-upper. Code enforcement lowers the price of a decrepit house (sometimes to a zero or less,) possibly making fixing it economically feasible.


Sandusky has been taken over by thugs and druggies and will no longer draw businesses in a crime-infested town. You call it poaching, I call it smart. Do you like living in a place where you are in fear for your life all day long?

The Bizness

I live, work and play in Sandusky. I am never in fear, and I hate great neighbors.


Me too. Ride my bike all over this city. Gorgeous view. Fun times.


Dont blame Huron, blame Sandusky for not doing enough to keep the business there. If you had to choose between Huron and Sandusky which would you choose?

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Sharon, with all due respect as a fellow blogger, this entry is missing A LOT of information from the meeting we both attended.

*Huron's Manager White attended the meeting to discuss in person the move. In addition he said he is working with Manager Wobser to ensure this is a rare occurrence, which I believe he said literally. Manager White understood how this hurt/help works and was willing to work out ways this doesn't happen in the future.

*Both managers mentioned participating with ECEDC in regards to prevent future "poaching" and as a way for all the cities to combine their resources regionally to attract business for all.

*This entire event wasn't done in a malevolent fashion by either the business owner (who spoke with ex-officio mayor Murray), Huron's Manager, nor due to incompetence on Sandusky's part. It happened, yes, but everyone involved really was being pro and reactive to ensure it doesn't in the future.

I feel that some more context was due in this story, so take the above as that please.

Ralph J.



So its Huron's fault that Sandusky sucks?

Don Lee

How about more people wrapping their brains around the idea that a company based in a neighboring town just might benefit your town? Chances are, people from one town will drive to work in the other, pay taxes and spend money in both towns, and just possibly that activity will drive and attract new activity in the entire area.
Sounds like Wobser and White can appreciate that idea, but there is still enough of the "stick to your guns even if all your rounds go into your own foot" and "my neighbor is my enemy" mentalities around, and in positions of influence, to keep Sandusky limping for a long, long time.


Re: "Chances are,"

Great song, but not so great as an economic development strategy.

A few sales taxes won't make up for the property, income taxes and other ancillary service fees paid by the residents.


I love/hate this city. Sandusky is beautiful, historic, and diverse. I'll leave the city in five years. But there is so much potential here. Downtown is gorgeous. This city needs to get out of the union mentality; those days are over (unless you're in government). We need serious answers on how to get these people off of welfare without getting into a bashing match. This city isn't lost yet. As far as poaching, companies, like people, have free will. If you were offered a better paying job in another city, you would take it. If the company can make more profit in another city, they should take it. I feel the columnist's frustration though. It's tough to lose any employers.


Second time a business has left that building. Sandusky Folding Box went out of business at that location about 20 years ago.

The Answer Person



Sandusky's problems are very easy to identify... But extremely difficult to reverse.

One might say that Sandusky has been "fundamentally transformed"..... Sound familiar?


A form of 'beggar thy neighbor.'

Norwalk just did this to Milan over Dan-Mar.

In nature the big fish tend to eat the little fish.


An anti-poaching agreement is not too dissimilar from restraint of trade, perpetual tenure at universities and do-not-fire union contracts. It reduces incentives for communities to evolve and become more competitive.


... and Sandusky is devolving into something like Detroit.

Horace Mann

^^^ part of the problem