Loudon County is joining Lenoir City in its fight to keep Yale Locks manufacturing company from leaving East Tennessee.
The company recently announced it would cut 200 jobs from its Lenoir City plant and move its operations to Connecticut in an effort to consolidate its business practices.
Loudon officials worry the move would have a devastating ripple effect. According to Pat Phillips, the Loudon County Director of Economic Development, 61 percent of Yale Locks' workers live in Loudon County. He said if 200 jobs were cut, the $8 million worth of wages would also be lost.
Monday morning, the Lenoir City Council approved a plan that would give Yale Locks a 10-year, 100 percent tax abatement if it kept its plant running in the Loudon County city. It is expected such an incentive would provide Yale Locks with more than $1 million.
"We're optimistic, [but] I do believe time is of the essence," said Lenoir City Mayor Tony Aikens. "We need to show them that we care and this sends a clear message that we do."
However, that plan could only be validated if the Loudon County Commission approved a similar measure as well. At the county's commission meeting Monday night, commissioners voted 9 to 0 to give Yale Locks the incentive Lenoir City recommended.
"Everybody is real concerned with the number of families that are going to be affected by this," said Loudon County Mayor Estelle Herron. "I knew my county commission would vote unanimously for it."
Phillips also plans to talk to the state to see if it can provide Yale Locks with any other incentives to stay in East Tennessee.
A number of Loudon County businesses said they were sad to hear Yale Locks could be closing its doors. However, Bo Carey, owner of Greers Home Furnishings in downtown Loudon told 10News he would like to see taxes decrease for all businesses, and not just one.
"I would like to see tax reductions across the board, especially for small business, but also for manufacturing employers," he said.