COSHOCTON — In an effort to have a stronger role in local economic development, Coshocton City Council wants to work closer with the Coshocton Port Authority.
Council President Tom Hilgenberg at the most recent council committees meeting created a new council subcommittee to serve as a liaison between the city and the port authority.
It will be comprised of council members Roger Moore, Tom Barcroft and Michelle Turner Ganz with Moore as the chair. He will meet with Port Authority Director Tiffany Swigert every month and she’ll come to council meetings every other month, or more if needed, to discuss projects.
“It’s just so we’re getting information and know what direction our city is going in, for the good of the city,” Hilgenberg said. “Everybody I talk to on council, our goal is for city expansion and for the city to do better.”
Swigert said a brochure highlighting accomplishments of the last four years will be going out sometime before the end of the year with the distribution method to be determined. She said the port authority is also looking to increase its social media presence to get information out to the public.
The port authority is focused on helping businesses to start, grow or move. Swigert said many people in the community are still unaware of the port authority’s role and what it has accomplished.
“It’s an economic development resource center. We do serve the city of Coshocton as well as the county as a whole in connecting business, industry, financial resources, government and education to promote growth and prosperity. It’s a really big umbrella of reach we have,” Swigert said.
The port authority assisted with expansions of Crozier Welding, ITM Marketing, Schlabach Wood Design and MFM Building Products with procuring tax incentives, grants and other help. Swigert said those four projects have resulted in more than $15 million in capital investment, retention of 268 jobs and creation of 110 new jobs.
Other recent highlights include purchase of the Chacos Building to create the Coshocton Collaborative, continued work on the Columbus to Pittsburgh corridor initiative, providing funding to struggling business during the COVID-19 pandemic, and working with the county on making the former Steel Ceilings site the home for the proposed new Coshocton Justice Center.
AFSCME contract approved
Council at its last meeting approved a new three-year agreement between the city and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union 2551.
Safety Service Director Max Crown said negotiations went smoothly and the contract is very similar to the last one. Pay increases will be 2.25% each year for the period of the contract. Insurance contribution stayed at 15% of COBRA insurance rates for the current year.
“This agreement keeps the terms and benefits of city employment competitive with similar municipalities and is in line with other public employment bargaining agreements recently negotiated across the state,” Crown said. “The agreement allows the city to move forward with providing excellent services and to continue our program to provide safe and affordable water and wastewater services as well as maintenance of streets, cemeteries and storm sewers for the city.”