WARSAW — While agenda items for Warsaw Common Council were routine approvals of ordinances and resolutions, it was at the end of the meeting Warsaw Mayor Joe Thallemer updated council members on the high speed rail proposal to run from Chicago, Ill., to Columbus, Ohio. This includes regular stops in Warsaw.
Thallemer, who piggybacked Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry’s announcement earlier in the day, stated the study was given the green light to proceed. It all began 4-5 years ago when communities “all along the whistle stop” provided funds for a tier one study. The Federal Railroad Association has given the go-ahead to the process to provide passenger rail service to those areas along the route.
Thallemer stated it is a big step with the FRA acknowledging the viable route and has put a “dotted line” on the map.
This line would have stops in Gary, Valparaiso, Plymouth, Warsaw and Fort Wayne. It would also have stops in Lima, Kenton and Marysville, Ohio.
“It’s a billion dollar project,” Thallemer stated, adding once the line is established it will be a level line with not a lot of elevation. “There’s still a whole lot that still needs to be done. It’s been three to four years to get this far.”
The tier one study will include numerous aspects including an environmental study. There will also be public input meetings. “With the FRA approval, it’s good news in a long and expensive road.”
Additionally Thallemer updated council members on a meeting with the US 30 coalition to talk about road funding and going to ZimmerBiomet meeting with Congressman Joe Donnelly, where the medical device tax was a topic of discussion. Donnelly stated legislator will work to repeal the medical device tax and the affordable care act. “The entire contingent supported the repeal from the beginning,” said Thallemer.
Council members were also advised the bond sale had taken place on the new fire station. The sale was for $2.95 million at a 3.19 percent interest rate.
During regular business ordinances for 2017 elected officials salaries, transfer of rainy day restricted funds into a grant fund and an amendment to the employee personnel policy handbook for code of ethics were approved.
Council members also approved a resolution of line 2 cuts in the city’s 2016 budget totaling $843,500. These cuts were unspent funds, which will be taken out of respective allocations and placed into reserves. “This will help with the final rates,” Thallemer stated.
Council members were also given proposed line 1 cuts from the 2017 budget totaling $780,790. These cuts were the result of over budgeting costs for medical insurance. Thallemer asked councilmen to review the proposal and if there are other areas for consideration to contact is office. Notification of budget reduction has not yet been received. The city will have 10 working days from that notification to reduce the budget. A special meeting will be called if necessary.
Reimbursement of funds from INDOT on the Husky Trail and Market Street projects, totaling $169,322.08 and $66,617.09 respectively have been received. A resolution was approved to place the money back into the funds from which they were taken.
The next regular meeting of the council will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3.