ORMET CORP. is a key player in the longterm viability of the Ohio Valley's economic well-being.
The Monroe County plant is currently experiencing difficult times. So much so that 102 workers received layoff notices last month, with the possibility of layoffs escalating upwards to 1,000.
If such a dire-straits scenario plays out, it would yield much hardship not just in Monroe County, but the entire Ohio Valley.
It was just a year ago that the aluminum maker was pulling in record income and profits. Now Ormet is mired in the polar opposite.
The company's dilemma appears two-fold.
One, market conditions are not conducive in the realm of aluminum processing. Secondly, electric costs are skyrocketing. The latter appears the biggest threat to Ormet.
Its electric bills may increase by about $20 million per year. Such a spike in expenses would damage any company, regardless of its economic standing.
Ormet is in need of help. Company officials have sought assistance from Gov. John Kasich, sending him a petition with more than 2,500 signatures. He turned the request to JobsOhio, a private, non-profit entity created by Kasich and the Ohio General Assembly last year to "lead the state's economic development efforts."
It is the second Ormet plea to be placed in JobsOhio's hands. A previous request was rejected earlier this year. Now JobsOhio is reviewing the new plan.
JobsOhio now has a chance to live up to its name. The group has the opportunity to save a plant and the 1,000 jobs that go with it.
The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has the authority to approve an electric rate decrease for Ormet. We believe JobsOhio needs to step to the plate and negotiate a more sensible electric deal for Ormet.
Kasich has championed the cause of job creation. Thus he established JobsOhio. Going hand-in-hand with job creation is job retention.
Kasich and JobsOhio have an opportunity to do just that.
Ormet is by far the largest employer and tax contributor in Monroe County. Should it close, the effects would be crippling to the county.
We believe Kasich and JobsOhio should do their jobs, ensuring that Ormet receives a fair electric deal, keeping Ormet operating at a capacity level.