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County asked to contribute to Precision Optical's $2.5 million project

Published: Friday, Oct. 26, 2012 11:04 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Oct. 26, 2012 11:20 a.m. CDT

Mike Tamerius and Matt Somers, owners of Precision Optical Group, are in the process of completing a $2.5 million expansion project attached to their current location just north of Highway 34.

With the expansion, Precision Optical plans to add a digital surfacing department, which will use newer technology to surface eye-glass lenses. The expansion will add 16 full-time jobs in the Creston community over the next two years with those employees earning an average annual salary of $35,000.

Wayne Pantini, Union County Development Association executive director, came to the board of supervisors Monday and asked the county to contribute financially to the project through the Southern Iowa Council of Government (SICOG)/Southern Iowa Development Group (SIDG) revolving loan fund.

That revolving loan fund requires a local match, usually split equally between the city and county. Pantini said the county's portion of that funding would be $31,250.

"We're are asking the city and county to contribute to this project," Pantini said, "but it will be a collective effort between those two and Union County Development Association (UCDA) to come up with the total amount of local funds needed ($62,500).

"This is a good project for Union County because of the additional tax base and additional jobs it would bring to the area. In this day and age, in any community, about 80 percent of jobs come from an existing business. So, we need to support our local businesses as much as we can in their growth opportunities."

County supervisors did not make a decision for or against contributing $31,250 toward the Precision Optical expansion project. The board tabled the decision, telling Pantini they will need to take a closer look at the budget.

Pantini said he will at some point go ask the city to contribute the same amount of money to the project.

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