Kosciusko County doesn’t get much more conservative than what was seen on Thursday night.
While the city of Warsaw and state of Indiana have pitched in more than $300,000 for an emergency relief fund for small businesses – a program created by Kosciusko County Economic Development Corporation – the county itself doesn’t seem that interested in quickly ponying up.
County Council was one vote short of killing the proposal Thursday night and instead tabled the matter. Councilmember Joni Truex sought to kill the plan and was joined by Doug Heinisch and Mike Long. After that vote failed to muster enough support, Ernie Wiggins and three others, Jon Garber, Kim Cates and Sue Ann Mitchell voted to table the issue until its next meeting, which will be June 11.
Those speaking against it said they’re worried about the county’s own budget woes. They also wondered if it would be needed.
KEDCO’s CEO, Alan Tio, appeared before the council Thursday to make the pitch and seemed content to accept the delay, but what must he be thinking when the city and state are willing to provide funding while the county appears to drag its feet? What must state officials think? They threw a lot of money to a county that doesn’t know if they need to support it themselves.
I’m pretty sure the council did not table the issue just to delay a final vote until after the June 2 primary, but the optics look horrible.
Truex is in what looks like a tight race. She’s one of three incumbents facing a challenge from Kathy Groninger for the three at-large seats. The other two at-large incumbents are Mitchell and Cates.
Warsaw used money from its economic development income tax fund, which makes sense since the emergency money would help boost companies (and employees) hurt by the historic pandemic.
The county has $3.2 million in EDIT money that is not officially obligated. But much of that is already unofficially earmarked for future projects, including $1.4 million for a road project.
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KUDOS – Kosciusko County’s Bar Association and the county chamber of commerce made the best of a horrible circumstance with the pandemic and organized a great candidate forum Friday night featuring judicial candidates for Superior Court 3 and four other races. In my experience in covering debates and forums, this was the most organized I’ve seen. Tip of the hat goes to the city for letting them use the streaming service in Warsaw City Hall. You can check out the forum online here.
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ENDORSEMENTS GALORE – Kosciusko County Commissioner Brad Jackson, facing a challenge from Marcia Baumgartner in the primary, has collected a large and unique array of endorsements that he says underscores his experience and his ability to work with people to get projects done. The list includes U.S. Reps. Jim Banks, and Jackie Walorski, U.S. Sens. Todd Young and Mike Braun, state lawmakers Ryan Mishler and Blake Doriot and retiring State Rep. Dave Wolkins. He also has support from former commissioner Ron Truex and former Elkhart Sheriff Brad Rogers.
BIG HILL TO CLIMB – Attorney General Curtis Hill will have a good idea of his future soon enough. The embattled former Elkhart County Prosecutor saw his law license suspended last week by the State Supreme Court after he allegedly groped several women about two years ago. Gov. Eric Holcomb is trying to insert his role in determining who would replace Hill. Holcomb called for him to resign when the mess first surfaced.
At the same time, Hill, who is seeking re-election, has an upcoming GOP convention to determine who Republicans will choose as the nominee in the fall election. He’s expected to face competition from Republicans and Democrats. Given what happens in the next few days, another challenger could surface. The deadline to file for the race is May 20.
Hill, who never did seem to back down from the allegations, said in a statement after the suspension was announced that he will “accept with humility and respect” the ruling. As one well-known local Republican pointed out, “that is as close as one gets to an apology from an attorney.”
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Dan Spalding is the editor at InkFreeNews.com.
He covers city government and politics and always welcomes your input.
He can be reached at [email protected] or at (574) 855-7612.