Kosciusko County Council members approved a declaratory resolution for the Louis Dreyfus tax abatement at Thursday’s meeting.
Attorney Steve Snyder presented the application, saying the company is requesting a 10-year real estate abatement of $18 million and a real property abatement of $14 million. Along with these improvements, 11 people will be hired with salaries of more than $926,000.
Jeremy Sommers, of Louis Dreyfus, talked about recent successes at the Claypool facility with the addition of a packaging plant. The packaging plant opened in March 2020 and the company was producing glycerine, one of the active ingredients in hand sanitizer.
The confirmatory hearing will be at the June meeting.
Susie Light, representing Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation, presented an incentives policies and procedures handbook for new businesses to use when approaching a government entity. With questions about several of the items, the handbook was tabled until June’s meeting.
In other business, the Council:
• Approved an additional appropriation of $10,074 for the CARES Act wage reimbursement related to the county virus testing site and telephone system instalation in county offices, as requested by Marsha McSherry, county administrator.
• Approved an additional appropriation to the economic development income tax fund to infrastructure and major improvements in the amount of $950,000, which will be used for the communications tower construction, as requested by McSherry.
• Reviewed a clinic fee report showing the savings realized from the county’s contract with MedStat services for employees.
• Approved a request from Sheriff Kyle Dukes to apply for an Indiana Department of Homeland Security grant for $223,000. The Sheriff’s Department, and the North Webster, Syracuse and Milford police departments, will use $148,000 of the money to install Dell computers. The Wawasee School Corporation will use the remainder of the funds.
Dukes also asked for an additional appropriation of $6,000 drawing on the stop arm violations grant to pay for salaries, which was approved.
• Approved for Steve Moriarity, highway superintendent, to apply for a railroad grade crossing grant for $20,800.
• Approved April encumbrances, presented by Michelle Puckett, county auditor, for $523,152.
Encumbrances are the funds that will be used to pay bills in the future. For example, some vehicles are ordered and aren’t received for a year. The money for the vehicles is part of the budget, it just isn’t spent yet. Using encumbrances means the department heads don’t have to ask for as many additional appropriations throughout the year.
The council discussed shutting off encumbrances before June 30, which would give them a clear idea of costs prior to crafting the next budget.
Councilwoman Sue Ann Mitchell said other councils have adopted a March 1 cut-off date and when she was auditor the date was Feb. 1. The Council agreed to discuss the matter further.
• Tabled a resolution from county lawyer Ed Ormsby governing electronic meetings.
The council disagreed with some of the guidelines which say an elected official only has to attend 50% of scheduled meetings. Councilwoman Kathy Groininger thought that number was too lenient.
Because the resolution will apply to other county boards, a committee to discuss the resolution will be formed.
The next council meeting is June 10 at 6 p.m. in the old courtroom at the courthouse.