Madison workers, back to the salt mines!
Christmas brought the promise of a new employer to my hometown. U.S. Salt, based in Burnsville, Minnesota, is expanding its operations to Madison. The company will bring five jobs, maybe more, to the building previously used by Dakota Vinyl, which closed five years ago. U.S. Salt supplies bulk and bagged salt for de-icing and water conditioning, but not for French fries.
According to Julie Gross, executive director of the Lake Area Improvement Corporation, the railroad was the key driver in U.S. Salt's decision. The Dakota Vinyl building sits on an upgraded spur of the Burlington Northern line (which ends a half-mile west at the elevator). It would appear that owner Tom Johnson is maximizing the advantage of rail efficiency and planning to use Madison as a central distribution point for sales around eastern South Dakota. (Expect John Goeman and Russ Olson to add this expansion to their list of reasons to make Highway 34 a four-laner!)
Governor Dennis Daugaard's announcement of the business expansion made me wonder what corporate welfare he was handing out to our new Minnesota friends. However, unlike its predecessor, U.S. Salt does not yet appear to be receiving any incentives from the Governor's Office of Economic Development. GOED spokesperson Natalie Likness tells me, "To date, no state incentives have been awarded to U.S. Salt."
Locally, Madison economic development chief Julie Gross says U.S. Salt will qualify for the Heartland CPD's hiring incentives. But so far, there's no word of taxpayer dollars being injured in the making of this deal. Now that's Unexpected!