Bergen Record -
Responding to reports that the Montvale-based U.S. division of Mercedes-Benz is considering a move out New Jersey, a state assemblywoman told company representatives Friday that state officials are ready to work with the German carmaker to keep it in New Jersey.
And a billboard company put up signs on routes 80 and 17, asking Mercedes-Benz to stay.
Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, R-River Vale, declined to give details on her 40-minute call with Mercedes-Benz officials, saying she had promised to keep the conversation confidential. But she said that Mercedes-Benz executives are “amenable to continuing to engage in discussions.”
“There are a lot of factors that are weighing in any sort of decision as to their future,” Schepisi said. “New Jersey remains committed to working with them, and they are aware of that. The state has some very attractive [incentive] packages that they are able to offer.” A company spokesman declined to comment on the call Friday, and has not commented on any reports that it may move.
Billboard messages saying “Bergen County (heart) Mercedes-Benz” went up Friday afternoon on routes 17 and 80 in Rochelle Park. The sign space was donated by Marty Judge, co-owner of Judge Outdoors in New York and Waldwick. He said he planned to keep the billboards into the new year.
Reports surfaced earlier this week that Mercedes-Benz, which employs 1,000 people in Montvale, is considering a move South, possibly to Atlanta. The company has been on a 37-acre campus in Montvale since 1972.
Schepisi and her fellow legislators in the 39th District, Sen. Gerald Cardinale, R-Demarest, and Assemblyman Robert Auth, R-Old Tappan, wrote to Mercedes-Benz Dec. 8, asking to meet with company officials to discuss “options and incentives to encourage Mercedes-Benz to continue to make New Jersey its home.”
A departure by Mercedes-Benz would be the latest in a series of corporate relocations from Bergen County to the South. Earlier this year, the car-rental company Hertz moved from Park Ridge to south Florida, and BubbleWrap maker Sealed Air is moving its headquarters from Elmwood Park to Charlotte, N.C.. Both companies received tax incentives from those states.
Mercedes-Benz is Montvale’s second-largest private employer, after the accounting giant KPMG, according to the Bergen County Economic Development Corp. Mercedes-Benz is among the top 10 corporate employers in the county and paid $916,700 in property taxes this year.