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Dubuque goes after Hormel's $31 million plant expansion

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The city of Dubuque, Iowa is taking a run at a $31 million expansion for Homel Foods, based in Austin, Minn. The Dubuque Telegraph Herald reported that the expansion at the company's existing Progressive Processing site could bring nearly 100 new jobs to the area. It is one of four plants that produce Hormel Compleats microwave meals.

The paper said that Hormel officials confirmed that discussions are under way with city leaders and economic development officials.

The Associated Press reported that the city will offer $1.3 million in tax-increment-financing benefits over five years as a local match required by state incentive programs. If approved, the state of Iowa would provide investment tax credits, sales tax exemptions, and job training funds.

The Rochester Post Bulletin reported that it's not a done deal and that Dubuque faces both international competition and competition from other Hormel facilities in attracting the expansion.

When Hormel opened the Dubuque facility in 2010, it was the first new production facility the company had built in more than 25 years. At the time it opened, Site Selection magazine reported that the $89 million, 348,000-sq.-ft. facility had the capacity to employ as many as 300.

The majority of the new jobs would be for production laborers, with wages starting at $13.58 per hour. The expansion includes more than a dozen mechanics/electricians with wages starting at $21.41 per hour, and seven production supervisors at $23.25 per hour.

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