WKU Public Radio News Staff
Wed April 9, 2014
Mayor: City Finances Will Suffer Under Jamestown Plant Closure
The mayor of Jamestown says state officials have begun reaching out to the 600 Fruit of the Loom workers whose jobs will be lost later this year.
The apparel company announced last week that it would move operations overseas and layoffs would occur in phases starting in June.
Mayor Terry Lawless hopes another manufacturer will come to Jamestown.
"It would thrill me to death that when they leave that the doors open for someone else to be in there and revenue starts picking right up, but we have to be realistic too," acknowledged Lawless. "That probably won't happen right away, but we've got our hopes it will eventually."
The city of Jamestown receives $200,000 a year in occupational taxes from plant employees.
Fruit of the Loom also pays the city $1.6 million a year for the wastewater treatment plant, which was upgraded a few years ago at the company's request. The question remains how the city will make the bond payment once the Fruit of the Loom leaves.
"We will be putting our numbers together on what we are paying on our bond indebtedness and we'll be going to the appropriate funding agencies and ask for relief," said Lawless.
Besides on the city's coffers, Fruit of the Loom's closure will have a ripple effect on businesses throughout the region, according to Mayor Lawless.
Russell County’s unemployment rate was 11.5 percent in February, up from 10.3 percent in January.