Sunday, November 23, 2014

Goshen council established ERAs, vows to look into progress

Posted on May 7, 2013 at 1:00 a.m.

GOSHEN — The city council voted Tuesday, May 7, to establish two areas as Economic Revitalization Areas (ERA) but agreed it would be a good idea to check on the progress of all their phase-ins and abatements in the near future.

One ERA was granted to the Falcon Corporation and Dave Carter and Associates in the 2400 block of Century Drive.

The designation will be limited to seven years, during which Falcon will contribute 15 percent of its tax savings to the city.

The second ERA was granted to Lippert Components Manufacturing at three locations, including 2703 College Avenue, 1701 Century Drive and 2475 Kercher Road.

Lippert’s designation will also last for seven years while they contribute 15 percent of their tax savings back to the city.

During the public hearing on the Lippert ERA, resident Glen Null urged the council to find out the number of abatements and phase-ins the city had already designated.

Null stated he believed bringing in jobs was important and though he didn’t specifically oppose either of the resolutions Tuesday, he asked the council “How many can we afford?”

“I agree with you,” councilman Everett Thomas said. “I think it’s time for us to take a look at the whole inventory.”

Councilwoman Julia Gautsche noted that the county is currently looking at establishing a uniform policy regarding the phase-ins and abatements, which would likely come before council for review in the near future.

Gautsche actually opposed the Lippert ERA herself, stating that she did not believe the wages of the new positions warranted the benefit.

Council also concluded the redistricting saga that had been discussed since early December of last year.

After months of searching for a palatable alternative to the legal department’s original proposal that included a population variance around 16 percent, council unanimously passed “option five,” which sported a population variance of just two percent but split five precincts.

The most highly contested vote Tuesday night was on the reestablishment of the city’s annual tax rate for the cumulative building and sinking fund for municipal sewers.

Resident Fred Buttell voiced his opposition to the proposal, calling the move “an end-around the tax caps” and saying the sewer department should cover their own expenses.

Null disagreed, saying the city “has a habit of borrowing from the Utility Department to cover other things,” and adding the increase of two cents per $100 of assessed value on each home was manageable.

While no opposing views were stated from the council during its deliberations, the proposal narrowly passed 4-3 when Brett Weddell broke with his fellow Republicans and voted in favor of the proposal.