Possible manufacturing jobs coming to Oshkosh

OSHKOSH – The Bemis Company is planning an expansion in Oshkosh, which would double the 160-member workforce at its plant on N. Main St. over three years.

But before the expansion could happen, the company has said it needs $2 million from taxpayers.

With Oshkosh Defense planning to lay off 760 workers this summer, the idea of Bemis Company adding 160 jobs is a relief to city manager Mark Rohloff.

“With all the reductions in workforces we’ve been seeing in the area, this is a great time for something like this to occur and I think it demonstrates the resiliency of our economy,” said Rohloff.

According to Rohloff, the jobs would pay an average of $35,000 to $53,000 annually.

But for Bemis to carry out its $25 million plan, it needs $2 million from the city.

Otherwise, Rohloff told FOX 11, the company could expand at a foreign plant, taking those new jobs with it.

“They asked if there was something we could do to help close the gap with cost between an international option and a more local option,” Rohloff explained.

A spokesperson for Bemis declined an on camera interview, but told us over the phone the Oshkosh location is ideal for expansion, because there is good infrastructure and management in place.

The $2 million still needed would come in the form of property tax reimbursements over the next decade.

“In exchange for those guarantees on jobs and property values, then we would be able to provide them some development incentives,” said Rohloff.

But, it’s not a done deal. Several entities within the city and tax base need to sign off on it.

City council member Steve Herman told us over the phone he is in favor of anything that will create new jobs, but he needs to see the actual plan before deciding if he can support it.

“I haven’t heard anything negative yet, but this is very early in the process. Part of the idea of having it be played out over a period of weeks or even a month or so, is so that we can vet it out,” Rohloff explained.

Rohloff told us if Bemis gets the city’s approval, the company would be ready to break ground almost immediately.

The city’s plan commission is expected to consider the idea two weeks from Tuesday.

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