SHARPSVILLE, Pa. (WKBN) – For decades, Laird Technologies, founded 65 years ago as Cattron Communications, was a mainstay in the Sharpsville community.
But what has been the borough’s largest employer is about to move to Warren, taking 150 jobs with it. It is a move Sharpsville Mayor Alex Kovach is taking personally.
“Jim Cattron would probably be rolling over in his grave right now. He and his wife and I were very, very good friends, and he would have never foreseen this happening,” said Kovach. “There were times that we didn’t have money to buy police radios and stuff and Mr. Cattron put them in our vehicles. As we got money we paid him back.”
The UK-based Laird specializes in wireless communications and remote control systems. It will be moving into a piece of empty Delphi Packard property on North River Road, closing the sites in Sharpsville and Hermitage.
“We were able to put a package together which amounts to a ten-year incentive package that includes tax credits on employee withholding taxes and net profit tax liabilities,” said Warren Safety Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa.
The move could mean both added growth for Laird, which had outgrown the Sharpsville location, and up to $250,000 in new yearly revenue for the city.
“Ideally, what we were looking at long-term with the new jobs to be added is in excess of 200,” said Cantalamessa.
The move will cost the Borough about $20,000 a year in income and property taxes and 1 mill in local revenue. The move also comes in the wake of both local Chevrolet dealerships leaving town in addition to a PNC bank branch.
“We are little guys. We don’t have the options that they are looking for I guess,” said Kovach.
While Laird is expected to open its new facility in Warren this summer, Kovach says he hopes his community will be able to find someone else to move in.