The closing of a coaxial cable manufacturer in Monroe County will lead to layoffs at one of the company’s suppliers.

Anderson Forest Products in Tompkinsville, which manufactures various packaging products for Belden CDT, such as wooden spools and pallets, will be laying off some of its workforce due to the closing of Belden CDT’s Tompkinsville plant.

“It remains to be seen how many positions will be lost,” said Kerry Anderson, vice president of Anderson Forest Products.

Anderson’s company has been a supplier for Belden since 1975.

“(Belden) represents 8 percent of our sales,” Anderson said.

The company opened a special manufacturing department in the mid-1970s to make the wooden spools specifically for Belden, but over time has been able to service other companies with that product. Of the company’s 110 employees, 45 work in the department. The layoffs are expected to occur within nine months to a year, he said.

Belden officials announced Monday morning they would be closing the Tompkinsville plant, as well as the Fort Mill, S.C. plant, and moving production to a new manufacturing facility near Nogales, Mexico. Production at the Richmond, IND. and Monticello, Ky. plants, which Anderson also serves, will not be affected.

The Tompkinsville plant manufactures coaxial cable, while the Fort Mill plant manufactures twisted-pair data cable.

Belden will begin phasing out production in the third quarter of this year and continue until the Tompkinsville plant closes in late 2007 leaving 250 people without jobs.

Another Tompkinsville business, Froedge Machine and Supply Co., Inc., will be affected by the closing of the plant.

“It will definitely have an effect,” said Tom Froedge, owner of the business. “They’ve been our customer for 25 years.”

Froedge’s business did general machine shop work for Belden, as well as some fabrication.

“We will have to find something to replace it, or reduce our size,” Froedge said. “We’ll try to replace it if we can.”

Aside from local suppliers, the plant’s closing will take a toll on the city due to a loss in tax revenue and utilities. Belden paid the city $200,000 in taxes and utilities each fiscal year.

“It will definitely be a deterrent to the city,” said Mayor Windell Carter. “It will definitely hurt the city.”

The plant closing could also affect the Monroe County School System.

“Any time you have a job loss in your community it has a ripple effect,” said George Wilson, superintendent.

He is also anticipating a loss in tax revenue, as well as students, with the possibility some people with children may have to leave the county to find other jobs.

With 250 employees, Belden is Monroe County’s third largest employer behind the Monroe County Medical Center with 240 to 250 full-time employees and the Monroe County School System with 325 to 330 full-time employees.

Members of the local industrial development authority have been trying to entice other industries to locate in the county.

“We’re working with one in particular,” said Kenneth Bartley, interim coordinator for the Monroe County Economic Development Center. “Right now it’s been put on hold until the end of June. We’ve contacted some more, but we’re not getting any response much from them.”

Monroe County has as much to offer prospective industries as other counties, Bartley said, pointing out the county has a 65-acre industrial park with a spec building and all utilities installed. Improvements are also being made to Ky. 163 and there is promise of the construction of a new by-pass around Tompkinsville, which local officials think will improve the county’s chance of attracting industry. Despite what the county has to offer, Bartley said there just aren’t a lot of new industries looking to locate in Kentucky.


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