Commissioners plan to back AKBy Jessica Brown, Butler
HAMILTON — Butler County commissioners Thursday threw their
support behind the financially troubled AK Steel Corp.
The company is grappling with many challenges that could force AK
to close its steelmaking operations in Middletown — and possibly
endanger an estimated 1,000 jobs — officials have said.
Among the problems are the costs of complying with new federal
air pollution-control rules and dealing with a federal and state
About 4,000 people are employed at Middletown Works and AK’s
corporate offices on Curtis Street.
Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution Thursday that will
put their support in writing. They plan to send a letter to AK Steel
and Ohio Gov. Bob Taft.
“If these jobs are really at risk, this is a crisis. This
presents a major blow to our economy,” said Commission President
Commissioner Courtney Combs said he would support a generic
resolution that would open a dialogue between the county and the
“It is very appropriate we contact them offering our support and
see how they want to proceed,” he said.
In the past, the state has given grant packages, tax-exempt
financing and tax credits to troubled Ohio steel companies, but
Middletown officials have said they have been unsuccessfully
attempting to contact the state for years to get some relief.
Thursday, Fox suggested implementing “environmental strategies”
and proposed using money currently being spent on E-Checks to help
“If you’re going to clean up the air it would make sense to
direct the money spent on E-Check to the employer,” he said.
He said there were a number of ideas that could be considered to
benefit the company.
He said retaining viable businesses and employees in Butler
County is a priority.
“Whatever is required to preserve these jobs, it’s up to us as a
county to do. That could very well be the beginning of the end,” he