Chesterton Tribune



ArcelorMittal seeks tax abatement from Burns Harbor

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The Burns Harbor ArcelorMittal Plant could get $163 million in upgrades over the next three to four years.

Three representatives from ArcelorMittal approached the Burns Harbor Town Council last night to seek a tax abatement in relation to the series of improvements.

The upgrades are intended to make the Burns Harbor plant more competitive with its rivals and sustain its technological prowess.

According to the representatives, about $44 million will go to non-discretionary projects that will include two new charge cranes in the steel shop, a new coke discharge machine, and a new BOF vessel. These replacements are more for risk-management--updating equipment at or nearing end-of-life.

The remaining $119 million will be for “bread and butter projects” that involve incremental updates to already well-performing assets, including increased coil capacity at the hot mill, new coil binders, upgraded coil storage, and the installation of an in-line temper mill, among others.

These upgrades will help the plant take on projects outside of its regular scope, such as solidifying a place in the growing electric car market. They will also help the Burns Harbor plant keep pace with the Company’s U.S. strategic plan goal to produce more hot roll direct sales.

Susan Zlajic, ArcelorMittal director of state tax & government relations, said the projects go far beyond regular maintenance, and provide for “growth and long-term sustainability” going forward 20 to 40 years.

“This is quite a significant investment in this plant and provides for the longevity of the facility,” said Zlajic.

Council member Ray Poparad noted that the Town awarded the company an abatement in 2017-- $134 million for its Walking Beam Furnace project to improve steel quality.

That project is scheduled to finish in December 2021, after which the 10-year abatement will be in place at a rate of 100 percent for the first three years, 75 percent for years five and six, and 50 percent in years six through 10.

Per Indiana Code, the Town is allowed to impose a fee of no more than 15 percent of the amount of taxes abated or $100,000 for each year, whichever is less, for the duration of a tax abatement it grants.

At Poparad’s suggestion, the Council voted unanimously to table the discussion Monday in light of Council Vice-president Eric Hull’s absence. The Council will further discuss the matter at its April 10 meeting.

Member Kevin Tracy agreed that all members should have time to take the Statement of Benefits Zlajic provided under advisement and be present and accountable for the decision.

Zlajic was understanding and said the team looks forward to the April meeting.



Posted 3/20/2019




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