JR Automation gets 12-year tax abatement, to invest $1.9 million

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

STEVENSVILLE — JR Automation Technologies garnered a 12-year tax abatement from Lincoln Township trustees Tuesday night.

The Stevensville business, which designs and builds custom automation equipment, will create 60 jobs over the next three years and invest $1.9 million as a result of the abatement.

Trustees approved the tax abatement for a 25,000-square-foot expansion to JR Automation’s existing building at 7275 Red Arrow Highway in Stevensville. JR Automation officials told trustees the expansion would accommodate the company’s increased production.

Construction is expected to be completed by December.

“Southwest Michigan is a great place to live and raise a family, and we are excited to be offering new job opportunities to the work force here,” said Bryan Jones, CEO of JR Automation. “We look forward to the continued opportunities that will be generated in this community through JR’s expansion.”

Assessor John Baumann said the abatement gives JR Automation a 50 percent reduction in taxes for all entities, with the exception of the state education tax.

Baumann said JR Automation first showed interest in November, when Cornerstone Alliance approached the township with the idea.

Cornerstone Alliance worked with JR Automation, providing help and site development options. With support from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and Kinexus, Cornerstone compiled a case for plant expansion.

“JR Automation is a growing company with sites across the country, and we are grateful they’ve chosen to invest and create high-paying, high-skilled jobs in Berrien County,” said Rob Cleveland, president of Cornerstone Alliance. “As a long-time member of the Michigan family, JR Automation understands the positive business climate and advantages of doing business in the state of Michigan.”

The Stevensville business received a change in its development district. Trustees agreed to amend the Industrial Development District for JR Automation by adding an adjacent parcel to the existing land.

Among the three public hearings trustees held Tuesday, two were in relation to JR Automation. One was for the abatement, while the other was for the amended district.

“Thank you for investing in the township,” Supervisor Dick Stauffer said after both hearings. “We look forward to the expansion and the new jobs.”

The initial public hearings were supposed to take place in January but were postponed twice.

The Stevensville plant originally opened under the name of Dane Systems in 1990. JR Technology Group LLC acquired Dane Systems from the Huizenga Automation Group in 2015.

Dane Systems designed and made manufacturing equipment for aerospace, automotive, construction, consumer products, food processing, furniture, and medical and pharmaceutical industries.

Other agenda items

The board approved the 2017-18 township budget after its third public hearing at Tuesday’s meeting.

Clerk Stacy Loar-Porter said staff expects to have a $121,000 increase to the general fund balance, bringing the total to $1.7 million.

Among the main approvals to the budget are a few parks department projects, which Loar-Porter said the township has been saving for the last few years.

The board will next meet for a joint meeting with the township’s Planning Commission at 6 p.m. March 28. The next regularly scheduled board meeting will be at 7 p.m. on April 4 at Township Hall.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on March 15, 2017)

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