By Justin Leighty, Truth Staff

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GOSHEN -- Goshen's City Council gave final approval Tuesday night to a tax phase-in for Cequent Performance Products to add 47 jobs in the next few months.

Even with high unemployment, the move didn't come without controversy. Democrat Julia Gautsche argued and voted against the move, saying the wages Cequent will pay aren't worth giving the company five years worth of tax breaks.

However, most of the other members of the council countered Gautsche's arguments. Tom Stump and Everett Thomas said Gautsche made some shaky assumptions in her argument.

Darryl Riegsecker said, "I'd rather have 47 decent-paying jobs than not have the jobs at all." Dixie Robinson said, "You'd be amazed how many people out there are working minimum wage, part-time with no benefits."

The new jobs will pay an average $11.39 an hour, though with benefits figured in, $17.65 an hour.

A couple of people voiced concerns to the council about whether Cequent planned to use the federal E-Verify system to make sure job applicants are legal to work.

It's something Christian Perron, senior controller for the company, promised to Robinson on Oct. 20 before the council gave preliminary approval to the request.

This time the council voted to make the federal system a formal requirement.

The only other controversy came from a Bristol man who cited an anonymous source, claiming Cequent was going to outsource 40 to 50 jobs to China in exchange for the 47 jobs they're bringing here from Wisconsin.

That, said Perron, is untrue. "There are no jobs being moved out and no part of the plant is being shut down," he said. While a few parts are outsourced each year, "we have not reduced the work force at all."

City Attorney Larry Barkes pointed out that Cequent has to hire 47 people and keep its Goshen work force at that level -- more than 400 people -- for at least the life of the phase-in or forfeit the tax break.

The council will consider changing the criteria used in considering tax phase-ins over the next few months.

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