Wells Enterprises falls short of IEDA jobs goal - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Wells Enterprises falls short of IEDA jobs goal

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© The company only collected about $980,000 from the millions set aside. Smetter says Wells stopped taking money when the company knew they wouldn't reach the job goal. © The company only collected about $980,000 from the millions set aside. Smetter says Wells stopped taking money when the company knew they wouldn't reach the job goal.
LE MARS, Iowa (KTIV) -

Wednesday, Plymouth County officials approved an early end to an agreement between Wells Enterprises and the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

Wells entered into the New Jobs and Income Program in '04. The goal, cut costs after building a new headquarters. The IEDA's deal would have awarded Wells $4.4 million in tax credits. But the company needed to create 126 new jobs, and maintain them.

"They needed to have those new jobs in place by June 30th of 2009. Then maintain those additional jobs through June 30th of 2014," said Tina Hoffman, with IEDA.

Wells fell short, getting 52. Company officials blame unexpected efficiency at their new facility, and high commodity prices.

"We had to counter that, millions and millions of dollars in extra cost. We then slowed down the hiring," said Wells Vice President of Corporate Communication Dave Smetter.

The company only collected about $980,000 from the millions set aside. Smetter says Wells stopped taking money when the company knew they wouldn't reach the job goal.

"That was only fair to the tax payers of Iowa," he said.

Wells and the IEDA settled in May. The state said the company could keep the near million they collected for creating the jobs they did. Officials say considering the nation's economic strain in years past, they're happy with the outcome.

"This project was going on during a time when the economy was experiencing a downturn. So, we are pleased, obviously, to have 52 great jobs in the economy," said Hoffman.

This isn't the only time Wells Enterprises didn't meet a jobs goal. Back in 2008, the company agreed to repay more than a million dollars of state money for failing to create and keep jobs that were promised.

In 2004, Wells, through a different IEDA program, planned to create more than 120 jobs. In return, the state offered $3 million in forgivable loans. When Wells fell short, they agreed to repay $1.2 million back to the state.

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