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Caterpillar had a focus on residents, community

You certainly can’t blame Caterpillar for trying to get a tax exemption from the Lafayette County Board of Supervisors on Monday.

After all, the plant has employed hundreds of local residents for years and is one of the larger employers in the county. Its employees also give back to the community, whether it is buying local or living in Oxford or Lafayette County. The employees also gas up at local convenience stores and help out with sales taxes, which are used for a variety of projects in Oxford.

Caterpillar employees also are encouraged to donate their time with volunteer efforts in the community. The company and its employees also have been solid supporters of local nonprofits, welcoming in the United Way of Oxford and Lafayette County for annual workplace campaigns.

So while the company is moving out and eliminating 240 local jobs, we don’t blame them for trying to save some pennies and keep those jobs around a little longer by requesting help from the county. We also don’t blame the board for saying no. Any tax breaks or incentives available should be used to lure in new jobs to make up for the ones we will lose shortly.

We hope that the next industry to take its place in the industrial park brings in hundreds of jobs  and also will be a place that encourages and fosters community spirit.