SYRACUSE — Alan Tio, CEO of Kosciusko County Economic Development Corporation, came to the Syracuse Town Council meeting to introduce himself and explain his plans for KEDCO’s future during the council’s regular meeting Tuesday night, Aug. 20.
Tio, who came from a similar position in Whitley County, hopes to bring a similar mindset to Kosciusko County. He explained KEDCO has a 24 member board and is a non-profit organization that is known as a problem solver. He noted the state has a number of issues such as housing and its work force when it comes to attracting new business.
KEDCO is also more than a deal maker. Tio explained KEDCO has traditionally been known to put deals together to help businesses transform, get started or to move to the area. The organization is also a business builder. Tio told the council KEDCO is to help build businesses from conception to expansion to public stock offerings.
Tio’s background in Whitley County is he started with himself and one other full-time person working in the office. When he left, he had a staff of eight. KEDCO’s current budget is 70 percent of the budget Whitley County Economic Development Corporation has.
Tio sees many opportunities in Kosciusko County. It was the first county in the state to join Agrinovus, an organization that promotes agri-business. Tio said there is a lot of Agriculture based innovation companies in the Silicone Valley in California he would like to attract to the county.
He would like Kosciusko County to be known as a place to start a business. KEDCO is also working with Ortho Works to help develop local talent for the orthopedic industry.
Tio believes the county has not done a good job in telling its story. “It’s a really special place and we need to tell our story better,” he told the council.
He is looking to increase both private and public sector support. Currently the main financial supporters of KEDCO are the City of Warsaw and Kosciusko County. He is looking to build support from other municipalities within the county. He asked Syracuse to provide $15,000. In the past, Syracuse has provided $2,000 in financial support. These funds would come from Economic Development Income Taxes.
After some discussion the council approved increasing the town’s support of KEDCO to $10,000.
The council approved reducing an existing appropriation from the cumulative storm sewer fund by $164,000. The council approved appropriately $50,000 from the cumulative capital improvement-property tax fund for capital improvements and $18,000 from the South Benton Tax Increment Finance fund for infrastructure.
The council also approved a resolution authorizing the use of E.D.I.T. funds and describing a capital improvement plan. Mike Noe, town manager, explained this plan is renewed every 3 years and the amounts presented were a guess for a number of projects. The plan mentions spending $25,000 on the Riverfront District and $100,000 for infrastructure projects in town, outside the Riverfront District. Another $800,000 was estimated for the cost of infrastructure projects on Harkless Drive, Front Street as well as repairs to the flood control device in Crosson Mill Park.
The council approved a detour proposed by the Indiana Department of Transportation when it begins construction of the round about at US 6 and SR 13. The detour will begin on CR 127 at the US 6 intersection, travel south on CR 127, then east on CR 56, south east on CR 29 and south east on North Huntington Street to SR 13.
Noe told the council he picked this detour so people would not be driving through the technology park during construction, which is expected to begin after construction on on/off ramps at CR 29 is complete. Bids for that project are expected to be out in October with the work done sometime next year.
In department reports, Noe told the council he extended the bids for the water tower painting project since many companies are currently too busy to submit a bid. The work will probably be completed next spring.
Maintenance will be done on a third well head for a cost of $11,900.
In the waste water department a belt press went down and and a new belt press has been ordered. After some discussion regarding the amount of time it takes for new parts to come in, the council suggested annual maintenance should be looked at for parts such as belts, bearings and rollers.
Noe wants all the lift stations in town to have alarms. Currently only six do. To put alarms on the remaining 16 lift stations would cost approximately $99,840, which would come from bond proceeds and would not affect the current rate. Noe also wants to use bond proceeds to replace the lift station on Carol Street. The council approved both projects as well as the purchase of a generator for the lift station near Main Channel Marina.
The street department has been busy installing a water main and an electrician has been addressing issues with the decorative lights. Electrical shorts are being found underground near the lights.
Chief Jim Layne reported the department received several new radar devices through a grant. An impaired driving blitz is underway through Labor Day weekend.
Layne also reminded citizens to lock their car doors at night. There have been several reports of items or money turning up missing from unlocked vehicles.
The department will be taking part in a new operation, Operation Stop Arm Violation Enforcement, through a grant. Police officers will follow buses along their routes to and from school to make sure drivers are obeying the bus’ stop arm when children are getting on and off the bus. Layne told the council Operation SAVE is just getting started, but there have not been any violations since school started.
The Syracuse Public Library has requested an additional handicap spot. Layne suggested it be placed directly in front of the library entrance and asked Vern Landis, town attorney, to write up an ordinance.
Chad Jonsson, park superintendent, reported there will be a Kids Olympic event this weekend. In September there will be super hero parties for children, similar to the Princess parties that were held in April. So far Spider Man has agreed to attend.
Jonsson also provided the council with the approved plan for Laudeman Park. The plan calls for the park to remain in an natural state with a few walking trails and a small picnic pavilion.
Clerk-treasurer Paula Kehr-Wicker reported budgets will be advertised Sept. 8 and there will be a public hearing and adoption of the 2020 budget next month.