Foreign steel tariffs could impact local company and City of Far - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Foreign steel tariffs could impact local company and City of Farrell

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FARRELL, Pa. -

A Mercer County company that generates 22-percent of Farrell's general fund is on the losing end of the government's tariffs on foreign steel and the city manager says it could have a ripple effect across the community.

Management at NLMK tells 21 News they've paid $55 million on tariffs in the past three months and could pay an additional $18 million in just the next 10 days. It's a cost they may not be able to continue to absorb.

"As a city manager, my job is not to look at right or left, it's to look at what is right in front of me," said Farrell City Manager Michael Ceci.

And at this time., what's front and center for Ceci is the possibility of NLMK no longer staying profitable because of a 25% tariff on the steel slabs they use.

"If they were to somehow succumb to the tariffs in place, that would mean a big loss in revenue to the city and really hurt our ability to provide the basic services to the residents," said Ceci.

In addition, Ceci said if the company can't keep their head above water "there is no possible chance" the city will be able to pull itself out of Act 47, which is the fiscally distressed status in Pennsylvania.  The city has been under that status for more than 30 years and is suppose to get out at the end of this year.

But, If the can't exit the status, Ceci said those who work in Farrell but live elsewhere will continue to pay an additional 1% non-residential income tax.

For those who live in the city, he said, basic services like police and fire will be more difficult to provide. The school will also take a hit.

And in the end, he said, it's not only 750 jobs direct that could be at stake but non-direct jobs as well.  "All of the small businesses that rely on NLMK to do repair work, electrical work, maintenance work, all those people lose jobs too," said Ceci.

NLMK Management tells 21 News because the market is strong right now, they're choosing to pay the tariffs. In the meantime, they are searching for a supplier that can provide the quantity they need without the company being subject to tariffs.

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