Two plastics companies - extruder maker American Kuhne Inc. and custom profile extruder Hi-Tech Profiles Inc. - are talking to officials from Hopkinton, R.I., about opening factories in the small town just across the border from Connecticut.
Town Manager William DiLibero said Hopkinton is negotiating with both Connecticut companies. American Kuhne of Norwich, Conn., and Hi-Tech Profiles of Pawcatuck, Conn., are looking at sites on undeveloped land near I-95, which runs along southern Connecticut, then cuts up to Providence, R.I.
Each company employs about 20. Hopkinton has about 8,000 residents.
American Kuhne started in 1997 in Norwich. President Bill Kramer said the machinery company has about 24,000 square feet of space in an older building, which it leases.
``We've been growing and expanding and we need a bigger facility,'' Kramer said, adding that Kuhne would like to build a new factory.
Kramer, in an Aug.18 telephone interview, said Hopkinton is the company's top choice. But the decision to move there is not based solely on tax breaks. ``It's contingent on a lot of things,'' he said. Other issues include financing, setback requirements with a stream on the property and the location of a driveway entrance.
Officials of Hi-Tech Profiles could not be reached for comment.
The talks are in the early stages and hinge, in part, on tax abatements. Hopkinton residents will vote Sept. 25 on whether to reinstate the ability to grant tax breaks to lure businesses, in a town meeting.
DiLibero said that in the past, the town council has been able to grant breaks on business taxes for real or personal property. But that ended in June, when residents at a financial town meeting - upset about problems with a property revaluation that ended up raising their taxes - voted to end that authority, he said.
But the talks with American Kuhne and Hi-Tech Profiles began after that vote. DiLibero is confident that residents will again allow tax breaks as an economic development tool.
An editorial in The Sun newspaper in Westerly, R.I., encouraged voters to approve the tax-break resolution.
Kramer said American Kuhne is not demanding a huge tax break to move from Norwich. ``We're looking for much more moderate incentives,'' he said.