County Approves Tax Abatement For Google

County Approves Tax Abatement For Google Click to Enlarge Photo: Sherburne County

(KNSI) - Sherburne County has approved a 20-year-tax abatement to clear the way to possibly land a $600 million Google data center.

The county board voted unanimously on Tuesday to give Jet Stream LLC, whose parent company is Google, around a $390,000 a year abatement which would save the company $7.8 million over two decades.

Republican Shane Mekeland represents the district in the state Legislature and is happy the project got the county's approval.

"For the community this is a good win, because it will employe a lot of construction jobs that will be here for about a decade and it also will eventually lead to a lot more people or companies who will come once it starts, they're the catalysts that will draw a lot of attention to the area."

Google is proposing to build a 375,000-square-foot data center on about 300 acres owned by Xcel Energy next to the Sherburne County Generating Station.

He says he knows a lot of people don't like abatements but in this case it's justified.

"When you have other states competing to win one of these things and it's a massive amount of investment, it will create long term employment and it will replace the lost taxes from Sherco One and Two."

The county says the project would create a minimum of 50 new permanent jobs, 2,000 construction jobs and about $4,000,000 in total annual payroll taxes.

The next step, is for the city of Becker to approve the abatement. The decision will be before the city council on April 2nd.

If approved, Becker's local tax break would be around $312,000 a year worth $6,240,000 over the 20 years.

If both abatements are approved it would amount to a local property tax break of a little more than $14 million over the 20 years.

The school district will still be able to collect around $300,000 a year from the center.

Overall, the county says the Google Data Center could generate about $1.3 million in property taxes a year.

The data center also needs approve from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Their report should come out after May 1st.

Over the next few years, the Sherco Power Plant, which has been part of the backbone for the Becker community, will be closing down as Xcel Energy turns away from coal powered plants and turns to more renewable energy sources.