St. Louis County approves P&H MinePro tax rebateThe $100,000 deal is part of a $23 million JoyGlobal expansion in Virginia.
By: John Myers, Duluth News Tribune
P&H MinePro Services, one of the region’s growing mining industry support companies, will get a $100,000 property tax rebate over the next 10 years for its new Iron Range service center under action today by the St. Louis County Board.
P&H, owned and operated by Milwaukee-based JoyGlobal Inc., last year built a new, 92,000-square-foot office and operations center on Virginia’s north side that will repair and service mining equipment from across the U.S. and Canada — things like the buckets used to scoop taconite iron ore out of mines.
The board held a public hearing today during its usual meeting in Duluth before approving the so-called tax-abatement deal. No opposition was expressed.
Under so-called tax abatements part of the company’s property taxes paid each year are funneled back into the project.
The company currently has 45 employees in Virginia and expects to add another 16 full-time employees within five years after consolidating operations in Hibbing and Mountain Iron into the new Virginia facility. The company builds equipment in Milwaukee for open-pit and underground mining but now will service much of that in Virginia..
“This is a flagship operation for our company,” Lloyd Younger, director of operations for the Virginia facility, told commissioners today.
Younger said existing and expanding mining operations in Minnesota and Wisconsin — including Essar Steel, PolyMet Mining and the possibility of Gogebic Taconite, as well as mines as far away as Labrador, will help spur business for the Virginia facility.
County commissioners and staff said the rebated property tax revenue will be more than made up for by increased economic vitality. John Tourville, Virginia city operations director, called the new P&H MinePro building “the anchor tenant in an (industrial) park that we’re going to do incredible things with.”
Kevin Gray, county administrator, said the total investment by the company was about $23 million, a “significant investment in our region by JoyGlobal,” Gray said. “The public benefits of the tax abatement far exceed the costs.”
County Commissioner Keith Nelson of Fayal Township said the county’s modest investment of $10,000 per year will help secure good-paying jobs that may have gone elsewhere.
“Rather than mining equipment being repaired all over the upper Midwest, JoyGlobal is now bringing that work here,” Nelson said
The city of Virginia already has approved a $3.4 million financial incentives package over 20 years, and the county tax rebate will go to the city as part of that financing to help pay back the city’s general obligation bonds on the project.
St. Louis County last year approved similar tax rebates for AAR Aircraft repair company and reapproved one for Cirrus Aviation, both in Duluth. County Commissioner Steve Raukar of Hibbing said the tax-abatement option has become an increasingly attractive economic development-job creation option for local governments compared to Tax Increment Financing used in past years.