Valparaiso, Indiana, USA 03 August 2015 -- After about a year of delay, Valparaiso has begun the process of issuing bonds to pay for a wastewater treatment plant connected to the Pratt Industries paper recycling mill.
Pratt, which is expected to open the mill next month, will reimburse for the bonds, which are not to exceed $10 million, but is using the city's borrowing power to get lower interest rates.
They will pay off the bonds in a 10-year period, and at the July 27 City Council meeting, council members had first reading of an ordinance that would require Pratt to pay off the bonds through a $105,000 debt service charge on its monthly sewer and water bill and a $8,334 debt service reserve that will put money aside in case Pratt can't make future payments.
The council will vote on ordinances after a second reading, which is expected Aug. 10.
The city first presented the ordinances and agreement with Pratt last fall, but it got tabled when local unions complained that Pratt was using out-of-state workers.
On Nov. 11, workers came en masse to ask that city money and local tax dollars be re-invested by hiring local workers, and the city began negotiations with Pratt.
City Economic Development Director Patrick Lyp said the city is issuing the bonds now even though work is near completion on the water plant near Pratt's existing plant at 3155 Indiana 49 because it wanted to make sure there'd be no problems.
Pratt Holding President Gary Byrd said about 74 percent of workers were union and workers were predominately local.
Randy Palmateer, business manager of Northwest Indiana Building Trades, wasn't at the July 27 City Council meeting but said although he didn't have exact numbers on local employees, he believed they're close to what Byrd cited.
"Things did get better out there with the local participation of the building trades," Palmateer said. "The city came through for us. They were on our side."
He also looks forward to having a better relationship with Pratt in the future.
"They should be happy with the contractors they had out there," Palmateer said.
Byrd said the new $270 million companion to the Pratt Paper box plant is about 65 percent complete, and all materials and pieces are on site.
The company has hired about 74 of the 104 permanent employees, he said.