Schilling Robotics announced today its involuntary need to halt expansion plans for its El Dorado County facility, due to the intent of El Dorado County Board of Supervisors to implement a nearly $3-million purchase plan to relocate the County's current small and large animal shelter. Schilling Robotics could be forced to relocate out of the area if the County moves forward with its plan.
Schilling recently invested $2-million in sophisticated machinery for the site, and had just finalized plans to begin a $500,000 improvement project at the facility located at 4461 Business Drive. The Company provides 35 high-paying jobs and wants to be in a position to generate more jobs through expansion, said Company officials, who underscored the dire economic situation locally and throughout California. The unemployment rate in El Dorado County is 13.6 percent, according to March figures listed on the California State Employment Development Department’s web site.
"Unlike many companies that outsource manufacturing and jobs overseas, we want to maintain a long-term commitment to keeping our operations in El Dorado County, California," said Paul Whalen, senior vice president of operations for Schilling. "Unfortunately, the County plan threatens that commitment because our current facility is the only one in the area capable of handling our business growth and type of manufacturing. The County should reconsider."
The County's plan is to relocate its large and small animal shelter into the same building as Schilling Robotics' high-precision fabrication plant, which is an important part of Schilling's manufacture of high technology deep sea robotic systems. According to Plan documents, Supervisor John Knight signed a purchase agreement to spend nearly $2.8 million on March 3 to buy the property, using Tobacco Settlement Special Revenue Funds. However, the purchase agreement will not be final unless and until the full Board of Supervisors votes to ratify the transaction. The vote is due by June 3. The Board of Supervisors is scheduled to discuss the item Tuesday, May 18, according to the County Board agenda.
John Kehoe, chief financial officer for Schilling Robotics, lives in El Dorado County and supports a new animal shelter at the Shinn property already purchased for that purpose. "Schilling is made up of animal lovers, and we fully appreciate the importance of relocating the County's current small and large animal shelter per the original plan," said Kehoe. "But this issue is about a loyal company that offers high-paying jobs, generates local and state tax revenue, and is anticipating significant expansion. We hope that common sense will prevail once the Board of Supervisors considers the plan's full economic impact to the community."
According to the County's own agenda documents [Legislative File Number 0-0518], the County purchased the Shinn property off Mother Lode Drive in November 2006, for construction of a new animal shelter. The 2006/2007 budgetary constraints halted the facility's construction.