SILVER CREEK – Village and other officials said Monday that they were caught unaware by the closing of Petri Baking Products by Ralcorp, but they are working to save the jobs that are being lost.
Chautauqua County Legislator George Borrello spoke during the regular meeting of the Village Board. Borrello had been among several local officials, including Silver Creek Mayor Kurt Lindstrom, who believed the pending sale of the company and other assets of Ralcorp to ConAgra would not result in the loss of the local company.
Then the company announced last week that Petri was slated to close. The village received a letter that said 206 production and maintenance and 25 administrative employees would be laid off. Petri had recently built a new shipping and receiving area and had been granted special zoning rights. In past years, the company provided $35,000 toward a flood mitigation project.
The village tax bill for Petri was listed at $16,000, and the company paid about $10,000 in water and sewer fees annually.
Borrello said he had spoken to officials from ConAgra and Ralcorp and that he had not known Petri would be closed. He said that since the news broke, a committee including Assemblywoman Catherine Young and Bill Daley, executive director of the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency, has been looking at options.
“The bottom line is, we are not going to give up,” said Borrello.
He hinted that the committee will try to explore a local owner for the baking company. The company was founded by a local family many years ago and had expanded under the ownership of new leaders in the past 10 years.
In other matters, Sgt. Steve Romanik announced his intention to resign from the village Police Department and accept a position with the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office. Romanik had also served as school resource officer. The Silver Creek Police Department has lost four of its officers within the last six months. An executive session to discuss personnel issues as they relate to the department was held Monday.
Lindstrom said he will talk with Chief Timothy Roche about the future of the department.
Resolutions to authorize a $5 million project to make repairs and improvements to the wastewater treatment plant were also approved Monday.
The project includes repairs that were needed because of outdated equipment, as well as improvements for the 40-year-old facility.
Engineers from Wendel will oversee the project for the village.