Chesterton Tribune



Burns Harbor OKS tax help for ArcelorMittal

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The Burns Harbor Town Council committed to granting ArcelorMittal three tax abatements on an upcoming $163 million upgrades project.

The approval was given at the Council’s April 10 meeting, contingent upon Town Attorney Clay Patton reviewing the paperwork.

At the Council’s March meeting, representatives of ArcelorMittal told the Council that the Burns Harbor plant stands to get approximately $163 million in upgrades between now and 2023.

$44 million will be for non-discretionary projects to update aging equipment, including two new charge cranes in the steel shop, a new coke discharge machine, and a new BOF vessel. $119 million will be for 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.

Corporate said the upgrades will help the plant stay competitive in a changing market and meet the Company’s U.S. strategic plan goal to produce more hot roll direct sales.

Council President Nick Loving expressed his support for granting the abatements, noting that ArcelorMittal has live projects in Mexico, East Chicago, and Cleveland, Ohio.

“They have a pile of money. That’s all companies really are. If ArcelorMittal does not invest in Burns Harbor, the capital can and will be allocated and used in other facilities, states, or countries,” Loving said. “They can put their money here with us, or they can put it anywhere else that they want.”

ArcelorMittal pays 73 percent of the property taxes in Town, which is one of the reasons Burns Harbor maintains the lowest municipal property tax rate for homeowners in Porter County, Loving said.

Loving said the abatements are investments in Burns Harbor’s future. “Think about what Burns Harbor is going to look like in 50 years. By approving the abatement, we can ensure the long-term viability of the mill, and in doing that, we can ensure the long-term viability of the Town.”

“It makes huge sense for us as a town, and it has huge benefits for us as a town,” Council Vice-president Eric Hull said.

The work will be done in three phases, which are scheduled for completion at the end of 2021, 2022, and 2023, respectively. Susan Zlajic, ArcelorMittal director of state tax & government relations, said Corporate green-lighted breaking the work down into three abatements--one for each phase.

Each 10-year abatement will be in place starting the year after each phase completes 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.

Not only does granting tax abatements keep ArcelorMittal in Duneland and employing local people, as Loving said, it brings income. 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.

The Council granted ArcelorMittal a tax abatement on its $134 million Walking Beam Furnace Project in 2017. That abatement goes into effect in 2022. So, come 2024, the Town will be collecting annual fees on four abatements.

Community Crossings

The bids are in for the Town’s 2019 Community Crossings grant projects. The Council approved going with Walsh & Kelley, which came back with the low bid of $1,030,503.70 for reconstruction and mill and fill on the Town’s priority roads based on condition. For a Town the size of Burns Harbor, Community Crossings grants are a 75/25 match.

The roads given priority for 2019 are as follows: Babcock from Haglund to Rainbow, Rainbow Drive from Babcock to West Dead End, Castle Street from Haglund to North Dead End, Coan Street from Haglund to North Dead End, Stanley Street from Haglund to North Dead End, Westport Road from Haglund to Navajo Trail, Riverside from Westport to East Dead End, Shadyside Road from Hickory to McCool Road, and McCool Road from U.S. Hwy 12 to Shadyside.

Street Department

Street Superintendent Pat Melton reported spring clean-up week starts April 22, but the Street Department has already picked up a lot of roadside trash. “78 bags of trash. It’s just unbelievable,” Melton said.

Melton received approval to use up to $10,000 from his budget to repair rusted hydraulic valves and obsolete controls on a plow truck that is a key part of his fleet.

Other business

The Council recognized two staff anniversaries in the month of April. Pat Melton has 13 years, and Corinne Peffers has three years.

The Town Rummage Sale will be Friday, July 26 and Saturday, July 27 This year.

Large item trash pick-up will be Thursday, May 16.

Burns Harbor Scholarship applications are due May 31.


Posted 4/17/2019




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