Winfield Industrial Properties/Zeeco, Inc., has closed its Winfield plant and returned to its headquarters in Broken Arrow, Okla.
The company, located at Strother Field, is said to have had its last day March 12.
Ken Capps, a Zeeco after-market sales manager currently working from home, said when the building closed, 10 employees were still working at the plant. The only person currently in the building is a maintenance man, Capps said. He’s there to make sure the boiler, and the heat and other utilities are working properly until the company can lease the building to another business.
Zeeco makes pilots for ignition and boiler burners, according to the company website.
“I don’t know why they haven’t said so (that the company is no longer at Strother Field),” Capps said.
He also said his statement cannot be taken as official; the official announcement must come from Marlon Goodwin, treasurer and director of special projects at Zeeco, or one of Zeeco’s in-house attorneys.
“But you could ask any one of the 10 people who were there on March 12, and they would tell you the company is closed in Winfield,” Capps said.
Goodwin has not returned calls to the CourierTraveler in the past two weeks. Winfield is no longer listed as a company site on the Zeeco website.
Both Cowley First Director Kerri Falletti and Strother Field Manager Shawn McGrew said they knew nothing about the plant’s closing in Winfield. Both said they “hoped not.”
County Commissioner Wayne Wilt said last week that he was told by a good source the plant was closed, and that company planned to lease the plant to someone else.
Zeeco asked Cowley County for a property tax break for 2020. The exemption was part of a nine-year break expected to provide the company with about $80,170.68 yearly for the length of the exemption.
The county commission tabled the request from its April 6 meeting to the April 20 meeting to give Zeeco more time to get information — the current level of employment — they requested before making a decision on the exemption. To qualify for the exemption, employment had to be at least 27. The Zeeco representative did not attend the meeting, so Falletti told the board about the situation.
She said Zeeco told her that given the company’s situation, it would “likely be going to leasing” the building to another company. Such an action automatically put them back on the tax rolls, commission chair Alan Groom said. The vote by the three commissioners was 3-0 to rescind the resolution for property tax exemption.
Groom said Monday that the commission suspected the company’s employment level did not meet abatement requirements when they tabled the request.
Winfield City Manager Taggart Wall said he had heard some rumors about the company’s leaving the area, but he didn’t think it had anything to do with Winfield or Cowley County.
Right now unemployment in the county is 4.1 percent, Wall said. That is so low local Industries are having a hard time finding workers, he said. “We have considerable (industrial) expansion going on in the county now. I don’t think (Zeeco’s leaving) is indicative of Cowley County at all.”