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Georgetown leaders watching Toyota news but aren't panicking

GEORGETOWN — Local leaders in the home of Toyota's largest North American plant are watching news about recent recalls, but they say it's too early to panic about job loss.

The Georgetown plant plans to shut down one of two assembly lines next week because of a national recall of eight models that might have faulty gas pedals. As Toyota news continues to grab headlines, Toyota officials are trying to figure out how to fix the problem.

But as far as things go in Georgetown, Mayor Karen Tingle-Sames said Toyota has kept her informed about issues at the plant, and she's not worried about loss of revenue, which would result if car sales dropped and jobs were cut at the plant.

"I feel like they have really gotten everything under control and are handling it well," Tingle-Sames said.

Georgetown finance director Michele Pogrotsky said about 60 percent of the city's revenue from payroll taxes and net profits comes from Toyota. An exact figure was not available.

The payroll tax in Georgetown is 1 percent of an employee's salary. Businesses also pay a small percentage of profits to the city.

Pogrotsky said she wonders when the recall will be lifted. But she and Tingle-Sames were pleased that jobs were not being cut.

Instead, 2,500 employees in Georgetown will have the option to continue working during down time, doing training exercises or discussing ways to improve their processes.

"As of right now, I don't think that the city's going to be affected that much," Pogrotsky said.

Officials say layoffs at Toyota would affect everyone in the city who gets money from the budget.

Phyllis Young, vice chair of the Scott County school board, said she's following the news about the recalls and the production halt at the Georgetown plant. But she has not discussed the situation with others on the board.

"We don't know what's going to come down the road," Young said.

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