While Sharpsville made overtures to Laird about expanding in the town, little interest was shown by the company, he said.
"There was nothing we could do to stop it," Robertson said. "You have to have someone who wants to stay in Sharpsville Ð to look at other options presented to them."
In dollars generated by Laird in terms of property and employment taxes for Sharpsville or the school district, Robertson said he didn't have that figure immediately available but said it was "a good amount." The Sharpsville site had been designated a Keystone Opportunity Zone which reduces state and local taxes. But the KOZ designation expired a couple years ago, he said.
Property taxes will continue to be paid by Laird until the Sharpsville buildings it owns are sold to another enterprise. Wage tax from its employees goes back to a worker's home community. However, Sharpsville will take a hit on wage taxes from Laird workers living in Ohio.
"Because Ohio and Pennsylvania don't have a reciprocal agreement on wage taxes, all the Ohio residents who work at Laird - and there's a good number of them - we get to keep their wage tax," Robertson said. "That's the money we'll immediately lose if they move to Hermitage."
But Robertson said he was encouraged about the siteÕs future in talking with Randy Seitz, CEO of Penn-Northwest Development Corp. The agency is Mercer CountyÕs lead economic development group.
'He said he would do everything he could to market the facility," Robertson said. "We will look forward to that happening and getting the building utilized again."
Started in Sharpsville as Cattron Electronics in the 1950s by the late Jim Cattron, he gained fame after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik on Oct. 4, 1957.