Lyon Co. to consider tru Shrimp abatement request

MARSHALL — The Lyon County Board will be considering some possible new tax abatement policies, after a request from tru Shrimp.

Representatives of the company approached county commissioners on Tuesday about a possible abatement on the company’s property in Balaton.

Last year, Lyon County established tax abatement policies for the development of new residential properties, but the county doesn’t have abatement policies for business and industrial properties. County commissioners said Tuesday they wanted to take a closer look at setting a county policy.

Tru Shrimp, an affiliate of Ralco, operates the Balaton Bay Reef training center in Balaton. Completed last summer, the training facility includes “tidal basins,” specialized tanks for raising shrimp.

Tru Shrimp human resources director Andy Easley said tru Shrimp has been working with the Balaton Economic Development Authority and the city of Balaton to try and get an abatement on the city portion of their property tax.

“Tru Shrimp would like you to consider a tax abatement for our property in Balaton,” Easley said.

Easley said tru Shrimp plans to grow over the next two years. He said tru Shrimp currently employs 32 people in Balaton, and expects to add another six people this year.

There are currently plans to build tru Shrimp’s first shrimp production facility in Madison, South Dakota. The announcement in early January that the company was building its first shrimp “harbor” in Madison instead of Luverne came as a surprise to many. At the time, representatives of tru Shrimp said uncertainty around a Minnesota Pollution Control Agency administrative rule was behind the delay in construction in Luverne.

Easley said tru Shrimp was looking for a possible county property tax abatement for the years 2020 through 2022.

The abatement could have terms similar to what’s being requested from the city of Balaton, where 80 percent of the city property taxes are abated in the first year, 60 percent in the second year, and 40 percent in the third year.

County commissioners were receptive to the idea of offering a county tax abatement. Commissioner Rick Anderson said he thought abatements to help encourage business development was a better situation for the county than Tax Increment Financing.

Commissioner Charlie Sanow said he would like to see county staff come up with a possible tax abatement policy for industrial properties. Sanow said he would be in favor of encouraging new industry and business in Lyon County, but not of directly competing with existing businesses.

“Helping people grow businesses is where we need to be,” for Lyon County to thrive, he said.

Commissioners directed county staff to look into drafting a tax abatement policy and bringing it back before the board in March.