CCDA gives update on Kardoes

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, November 6, 2019

LaFAYETTE — Chambers County Development Authority Executive Director Valerie Gray announced Monday night there would be a job fair this week for displaced employees from the Kardoes Rubber Plant.

The job fair will be from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7, at the ALFA Building in LaFayette for displaced employees from Kardoes.

LaFayette Mayor Barry Moody announced in October at a council meeting the plant has plans to close, displacing dozens of employees in Chambers County. Gray said the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) list at the Alabama Department of Commerce says Kardoes has a potential closing date of Dec. 31.

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“The day that announcement came out I probably had 10 to 15 different industries in the region reach out to us because everybody is looking for labor, and everyone is looking for someone who already has a job because that means they have the skills necessary to continue on to another job,” Gray said.

She said the most important thing for current employees of Kardoes is to continue working throughout the closing date to continue receiving benefits from Kardoes.

Chris Busby of the CCDA said not only does the organization want to help find jobs for the displaced employees, but they also don’t want people moving out of LaFayette.

“We don’t want people to leave our community,” he said. “We want to find jobs, and then when they do, they can then still live in LaFayette.”

The second aspect of the closure Gray raised Monday night was about after Kardoes leaves the building. Currently, she said Hexpool, Kardoes’ owner, does own the building, but it’s important for the county to understand how the company plans to move forward.

Gray said she has reached out to the Chambers County Revenue Commission to make sure there is a judgment demand put on the property, so it does shut down, the property taxes will still be paid.

She suggested the city and CCDA draft a joint letter to Hexpool asking what the company’s plans are as to when it plans to market the building or move its equipment out of the structure.

Gray said Kardoes was a large utility user, so it would be up to the council about what sort of companies CCDA would begin to recruit to fill that space. However, the city and CCDA would first have to learn what Hexpool’s plans are for the structure.

“If we assert ourselves and say we are here for you, and we’re going to support you because we understand bad things happen, but you’re not going to leave us here with a vacant mill site,” Gray said.

She said the city should probably move forward on having an environmental study done on the site, which her office can help with the cost.

“We do that so we can eliminate as many obstacles as possible for somebody looking to quickly locate in that building,” Gray said.