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Archive for Thursday, February 21, 2002

Accounting center to get startup help

February 21, 2002

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— The Reno County Commission has agreed to give Kroger Corp. $70,000 toward establishing an accounting center that would add about 50 area jobs.

Commissioners on Tuesday told Kroger that the county would provide the funds next year.

Gary Rhodes, director of Kroger communications, said Kroger would consolidate day-to-day accounting operations for its convenience-store group in Hutchinson. The group has 790 stores in 16 states.

There are five such centers across the country, plus one that already employs 18 people in Hutchinson.

"The consolidation will bring 51 new jobs to Hutchinson over the next 18 months," Rhodes said.

Jon Daveline, president of the Hutchinson Chamber of Commerce, told commissioners that Hutchinson was competing with a community in Colorado for the center.

The center will create an annual payroll of $1.5 million, Daveline said. The 10,000-square-foot accounting center will be built at the Kroger distribution center.

Commission Chairman Larry Sharp said Kroger's request points out a weakness that needed to be addressed by the commission.

"It raises the question again whether this board should have an economic-opportunity fund to tap when these opportunities arise," Sharp said.

He suggested considering a countywide half-mill tax levy to generate about $200,000 a year that would be devoted to spurring business growth anywhere in Reno County.

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