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Cooper deadline approaches

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

November 24, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - One more week. That's how long city, county and state leaders have to finalize a proposal they'll present to Cooper Tire executives next week. They hope to encourage the decision makers to keep the Albany plant up and operating. Will it work?

Business has been tough for Cooper Tire this year. In September, they were forced to shut down lines at the Albany plant because of a shortage of synthetic rubber due to Hurricane Ike.

Just last week, the company announced it's again cutting back production because of declining demand in the North American tire market. At the same time, the company is looking to shut one of its four North American plants.

"These are some of the most trying times I've ever seen," said Jeff Sinyard. Trying, but not insurmountable. At least that's the hope of Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard.

He said, "We haven't spent a lot of time thinking about 'Oh my Gosh, what happens if they close?' We've focused almost all of our energy on what do we have to do to assist and help Cooper on both a local and Statewide basis to be productive in the state of Georgia and productive in Dougherty County."

Some of the things they may consider are tax credits and job credits. Sinyard won't say much, but hopes what local leaders have put together will be enough.

 "The last two weeks, we've literally condensed all that info we've worked very hard in putting together, on paper, a presentation that I think will give Georgia and Albany, Georgia, the kind of advantage Cooper needs to stay in Albany."

The presentation should be complete by Wednesday and is due to Cooper tire on Monday. Cooper also has plants in Findlay, Ohio, where its Headquarters are located, in Texarkana, Arkansas and Tupelo, Mississippi. Cooper is expected to make a decision on which plant it will shut down by January.

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