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Workers facing looming job losses air concerns in Fredonia

FREDONIA – Carriage House workers facing the loss of their jobs had the chance to speak out Monday during a meeting in Fredonia Village Hall that featured Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, Chautauqua County Executive Vince Horrigan and other local officials.

Mayors A.J. Dolce of Dunkirk and Stephen Keefe of Fredonia also were on hand to hear Reed’s comments and the questions from many of the workers who are facing job loss.

Keefe said the village still has no idea when the plant will fully shut down and he will face massive losses to the village’s operating budget.

The village expects to face a gap of $1.5 million between taxes and revenue from water and sewer use by the food-processing plant.

“The whole issue is very sad all the way around,” Keefe said. “You have hundreds of people with lots of questions about their future and no jobs to turn to in the area.”

ConAgra Foods announced the closing about two weeks ago. Locations in Fredonia and Dunkirk will be shut down between now and May 2015. Dunkirk stands to lose about $180,000 in revenue, according to Dolce.

Horrigan pledged the support of the county’s Workforce Investment Team.

He said there may be potential buyers for the site, but he would not disclose their level of interest.

Horrigan said talks are preliminary at this stage and that ConAgra has not disclosed whether it will leave any of the food-processing equipment in the buildings.

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