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Chrysler seeks tax incentives on Kokomo plant

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Chrysler Group LLC is seeking tax incentives for its transmission plant in Kokomo at the same time it's asking Tipton County officials for similar incentives on a vacant plant.

Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson confirmed Friday that the automaker had asked the city to approve tax abatement, but she wouldn't discuss any further details.

City Council President Mike Kennedy told the Kokomo Tribune that he understands the request is connected to a similar request for tax abatement on a plant south of Kokomo that was originally built as part of a partnership with German auto parts maker Getrag but never completed.

"It goes along with the investment in Tipton County," Kennedy said. "The investment here includes some pretty decent jobs activity."

Officials will consider Chrysler's request Monday.

Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight said the investment will coincide with the plans for the aborted Getrag plant, but said he couldn't release more information.

"We were in discussions with Chrysler today, but we're not to the announcement stage yet," he said.

When construction on the Getrag plant began in 2007 at a cost estimated at $100 million, the nearly 800,000-square-foot building at U.S. 31 and State Road 28 was expected to employ up to 1,400 people producing transmissions. But Getrag stopped construction of the plant in 2008 and filed for bankruptcy after Chrysler LLC pulled out of a financing options agreement and left the plant without a primary customer.

If the plant is finished and opened, it could impact Chrysler's Kokomo operations, the Tribune reported. Kokomo's plants were shut down in 2009, but Chrysler decided three years ago to keep transmission building in house instead of contracting the work out, breathing new life into the central Indiana operation with a $1.3 billion investment.

Kokomo's Chrysler plants have added nearly 1,000 jobs since the company emerged from bankruptcy in 2009.

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