The city of Mount Vernon and workers at a local Siemens plant suffered a major blow this week with news that the energy company is closing the location, a move expected to affect about 400 workers.
“It’s a huge hit,” says Mount Vernon mayor Richard Mavis.
Mavis says the closure was a surprise, although the city had been in discussions with Siemens officials for about a year about plans to downsize.
The closure will come in phases and will affect workers in the company’s Power and Gas, Power Generation Services and Dresser-Rand businesses.
The plant builds gas-powered turbines, an industry that's shrank with the increased viability of alternative energy and natural gas.
Some of the workers will be able to transfer to other positions within the company.
Mavis said until this week, he was under the impression that most of the production jobs would be shifted elsewhere and the Mount Vernon facility would still be home to about 325 engineering positions.
Mavis says those engineering positions each pay about $75,000 a year. With a city income tax rate of 2 percent, that means the loss of at least $487,500.
“Our annual budget is always somewhere in the neighborhood of $40 million,” Mavis says.
Mavis says they’ll now have to redo their 2018 budget to account for the lower revenue.
Mavis says the current Siemens campus, which was formerly occupied by Cooper Energy Services, has been very well maintained with up-to-date infrastructure. He says Siemens and city officials have been working with a marketing company to attract other possible tenants. Mavis says in the past year, “we’ve had some lookers but no takers.”