By Dan Spalding
WARSAW – Kosciusko County Council approved a request to provide $100,000 to the small business relief fund set up by the county’s economic development office known as KEDCo.
The vote to approve was 6-1 and came after Alan Tio, CEO of Kosciusko County Economic Development Corporation, provided a detailed explanation of the difference in how county money will be used compared to $245,000 provided by the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs.
The county’s contribution comes in addition to $100,000 from the city of Warsaw and $30,000 from Winona Lake. In each of those situations, the money will be used for businesses within those jurisdictions.
The locally-sourced loans are zero percent over two years with a maximum of up to $10,000. Loans through OCRA are for three years and can be in increments of $10,000 and $25,000, but do include 2 percent interest for the larger sum.
The OCRA loans require that 51 percent of the employees who are “served” be low- to moderate-income while the locally sourced loans do not include that stipulation.
County Council considered the request last month and almost killed the plan, but that motion fell one vote short. Council then tabled the issue.
Council members said there was some confusion a month ago on how the money would be used, but were satisfied with Tio’s details provided Thursday.
Tio said several applicants have been approved and about 20 other applications have been submitted.
The money is intended for job retention and business recovery as a result of the pandemic.
The county funds will come from the Economic Development Income Tax fund.
Councilmember Sue Ann Mitchell, directing her comments to the media, said the delay in a final decision involved a desire for more details and had nothing to do with politics.
Supporting the plan were Mitchell, Jon Garber, Ernie Wiggins, Kimberly Cates, Doug Heinisch and Joni Truex.
The lone dissent came from Mike Long, who afterward, said he thought the move was a little premature.
“I was more of a wait and see approach,” Long said. “Do we even need to be a participant? I know it doesn’t look good, but I have a hard time being an unsecured lender with county funds.”
In other matters, Sheriff Kyle Dukes’ request was approved to transfer $14,000 for a new part-time employee to help sort out items in the evidence rooms.
Much of the evidence needs to be sorted and set aside to be destroyed. Some of the stuff includes items dating back to 1976. Items include bows and arrows, drugs, ammunition and paraphernalia.
One thing that won’t be destroyed is the huge collection of firearms.
Dukes estimates he has about 300 guns. He said he intends to sell those through an auction.
Councilmember Kimberly Cates suggested money from the auction be used to cover the cost of hiring the part-time worker – an idea Dukes seemed to embrace — and said it could be used for other needs.
Truex made the motion to approve and stipulated that if the new worker would continue into next year, he would need the council’s approval.