Indiana city advances $7M bond for Pillsbury plant

The southern Indiana city of New Albany is moving closer to issuing a $7 million bond that would offer General Mills incentives to not close a Pillsbury plant that employs about 400 workers.

New Albany's city council voted 5-2 on Tuesday in favor of a nonbinding resolution to move forward with the bond, which would offer General Mills financial incentives to keep its refrigerated baked goods plant open.

Attendees at Tuesday's meeting filled the council's chambers, and Pillsbury workers and their families lined the hallway so they could listen to the debate, the News and Tribune reported.

Councilmen Kevin Zurschmiede and Greg Phipps, who voted against the resolution, said they needed more details about the bond package before agreeing to use taxpayer funds to support a business.

Zurschmiede said he would have been more likely to support Tuesday's resolution if General Mills had made a pledge to keep the plant open.

"I think it's just false hope at this point," he said.

Councilman Dan Coffey said that while there's no certainty the bond would keep the Pillsbury plant open, taking no action would seal the plant's fate.

General Mills announced Jan. 8 that it would close the plant by mid-2016, pending discussions with the union that represents plant workers.

The Pillsbury plant opened in the Ohio River city in 1959, and its 400 workers make it New Albany's fifth-largest employer. Workers there make crescent rolls, pizza dough and other refrigerated baked goods.

According to the Courier-Journal, hourly workers at the plant earn up to $27 an hour, with pay boosts for second and third shifts. Workers can make up to $100,000 annually with overtime. And benefits include fully paid health insurance.

Mayor Jeff Gahan told the council that the resolution would encourage General Mills to stay.

"We still have jobs here, and we still have an opportunity to send the message to General Mills that they are important to us," he said.

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