The city is looking to purchase more than 90 acres of land immediately west of Ivy Tech in Warsaw for the development of the Warsaw Technology Park. The Warsaw Common Council heard the proposal Tuesday night from city planner Jeremy Skinner, but were not yet able to act on the financial requirements the sale would require.
Skinner was asking to have an additional $550,000 of the Northern Tax Increment Finance district fund appropriated and $100,000 transferred to complete the land purchase. “The property will be a key part of our expansion of the industrial park to the west,” he explained, adding that the purchase price has not yet been established. “As we continue to negotiate I don’t want to get into the purchase price yet. We’re close to entering into a purchase agreement, but we’re still waiting on two appraisals and will use those for further negotiations.”
The Warsaw Redevelopment Commission is expected to enter into a purchase agreement for the property during its noon meeting on Monday.
The common council, however, was not able to vote on the appropriation or transfer of funds because the matter had not been publicly advertised. For such acts, the council has to have at least one reading and a public hearing.
Plans for the Warsaw Technology Park include the construction of a shell structure. Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation President George Robertson has long said the city needs some kind of facility that is in ready to move in condition. Councilman Charlie Smith agreed with the thought last night adding, “There are so many companies looking to relocate and they actually want a facility where they can move in right away … the benefit of this is it attracts a lot of wealth to our community.” Smith added, “We need to be progressive as a community. (TIF districts do not) cost tax dollars and could maybe even reduce our tax base later on.”
The property the city is planning to purchase is immediately west of Ivy Tech and is bordered to the south by U.S. 30 and to the west by CR 200 West.
While the council was not able to approve the $550,000 appropriation, they agreed to reset the first hearing for the next council meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16.
In a final order of business, the council briefly discussed budgets. Council president Diane Quance asked if anyone had an specific concerns about department budgets that they would like discussed at the Sept. 16 meeting. Most agreed it is too early in the process to question any of the budgets.
Mayor Joe Thallemer has already asked department heads to make the first round of cuts on their own. He also said it is too early to discuss bottom dollars because the city health insurance costs will not be known until next month.
Quance, however, said she had concerns about the $31,000 request from the City-County Athletic Complex. Last year the council appropriated only $25,000 to the facility. “It’s an issue for me because they are always in the hole,” she explained. “I have concern for a $6,000 increase and I’m hearing there’s a reduction in some of the leagues that they don’t expect to see pick up.”
The only other council member to voice any type of concern about the CCAC was Jerry Frush who simply asked why the CCAC is not self-supporting. The overwhelming response from the remaining council was that the CCAC provides money to area businesses by bringing people in to the community for tournaments and other events. “I think $31,000 is a minute amount to what is offered and I’m in favor of it only because I hear so much on how it is used and benefits other businesses.”
Thallemer said the reduction in funds given to the CCAC last year was only due to trail projects that were aimed at getting more people to use the trails to get to the CCAC.
The council will have its next regular meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 16.