Officials wait to comment on GM annoucement

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Gazette staff
Friday, June 26, 2009
— State and local officials had few comments Thursday about the reported decision by General Motors to build a small car in Orion, Mich., rather than Janesville.

They said they are waiting for an official announcement.

Eric Levitt, Janesville’s city manager, said he could not divulge what the city had offered General Motors to locate here. The council had discussed the incentive package in closed session. Levitt was not sure how much of that could be released even after an announcement.

If the announcement is accurate, Levitt said he is not willing to write GM off.

“GM says it (the Janesville plant) is an idled plant, which is still one of the goals of the committee when it was formed last fall,” Levitt said.

The goal is to keep Janesville on the map so GM will continue to consider it for new car production, he said.

Janesville will just keep working with GM as far as the future of the plant, Levitt said.

Rock County Administrator Craig Knutson declined to comment until the announcement was official.

Once it is official, he said staff would decide how much information on the incentive package would be released.

A spokesperson in Assembly Speaker Mike Sheridan’s office also would not comment until the announcement is confirmed.

State Department of Commerce spokesman Tony Hozeny said his office does not comment on rumors.

Janesville’s Tim Cullen, co-chair of the task force appointed by Gov. Jim Doyle to try to bring GM back here, did divulge one small part of the incentive package. In a phone call, Cullen told the Gazette that the proposal included buying Zachow’s Bar and turning the property into a day care center for GM employees.

Cullen said it was “a poke in the eye to GM” a few years ago when a Wall Street Journal story about the Janesville GM plant led with the fact that the factory had a tavern right in the parking lot.

Last updated: 10:34 am Thursday, December 13, 2012

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