Kansas

Coffeyville finds silver lining in Amazon departure

Coffeyville is feeling the impact of the pending closure of an Amazon.com facility. This week, city officials said Amazon told them Coffeyville could keep more than $500,000 in unclaimed financial incentives.
Coffeyville is feeling the impact of the pending closure of an Amazon.com facility. This week, city officials said Amazon told them Coffeyville could keep more than $500,000 in unclaimed financial incentives. The Wichita Eagle file photo

The city of Coffeyville will get to keep $562,213 that it had promised Amazon – in what a city official called a “goodwill gesture” from a company set to close its distribution warehouse there in February.

In 1999, Coffeyville awarded Amazon $1.2 million in infrastructure improvements and $3.3 million in cash incentives based on reaching salary and employment targets, according to Interim City Manager James Grimmett.

But for reasons that remain unclear, Amazon stopped requesting the payments it was owed in April 2012, Grimmett said. The incentive program expired in August 2014. The company announced in September that it would close the warehouse.

The city was aware that Amazon hadn’t collected all of its money and contacted the company this week to settle the account. The company told the city that it wouldn’t claim what was left in the fund.

“Those funds were owed to them, something that they earned through their employment,” Grimmett said. “That is their goodwill gesture to us.”

Although a bit of good news, the unexpected funds don’t make up for the loss of about 800 jobs and an estimated $18.6 million annual payroll in Montgomery County, he added. Amazon was Coffeyville’s largest employer.

Employers from southeast Kansas will be at a job fair from 1 to 9 p.m. Dec. 18 in Nellis Hall on the campus of Coffeyville Community College.

Amazon on Monday declined to comment.

Reach Dan Voorhis at 316-268-6577 or dvoorhis@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @danvoorhis.

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