By Leah Sander
WINONA LAKE — Winona Lake’s proposed 2022 budget includes a $429,870 increase from last year’s budget.
However, increasing home values in the town have caused the tax rate to drop slightly.
That was the news from Town Clerk-Treasurer Kent Adams at an Aug. 17 regular Winona Lake Town Council meeting. He presented an overview of the proposed 2022 budget.
The planned budget for 2022 is $5,459,722 compared to this year’s budget of $5,029,852, an increase of 8.55%.
That breaks down to: $65,000 in casino/riverboat; $100,000 in rainy day; $1,422,866 in general; $81,500 in local road and street; $745,450 in motor vehicle highway; $5,000 in continuing education; $200,880 in park and recreation; $50,000 in cumulative capital improvement cigarette tax; $187,000 in cumulative capital development; $800,000 in economic development income tax; $200,000 in TIF; $1,394,026 in wastewater; and $208,000 in stormwater.
However, as home values have increased by 9.62% or $18,304,293, that’s caused the tax rate to actually dip slightly from $0.6876 per $100 of assessed valuation to $0.6524 per $100 of assessed valuation.
A public hearing on the budget will be during the council’s next meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 21. The council plans to adopt the 2022 budget at its Tuesday, Oct. 19, meeting. Both meetings start at 6 p.m. at Winona Lake Town Hall.
The council also heard an update on the Kosciusko Economic Development Corp. (KEDCo) from Suzie Light. She’s filling in for KEDCo CEO Alan Tio, who is serving overseas with the U.S. Navy.
One of the projects KEDCo is working on is helping people secure housing in the county.
“We are working on tools to help people who are buying their homes in the way of a mortgage savings account that can be matched by (a state housing program),” she said.
“Is that first-time home buyers or is that anyone?” asked Town Council President Rick Swaim.
Light answered she believed both could apply.
“But there are also income qualifiers, so you have to be a certain percentage of the average adjusted median income for some of those programs,” she said. “But they are not all just people who need assisted housing, there are people who will be using workforce housing who can qualify for those kind of programs.”
She also said KEDCo’s COVID-19 small business relief fund “has been used successfully.”
“Some folks who have used it are in the means of paying back some of that relief, and that’s exciting to see,” she said. “Apparently we weathered the pandemic well so far.”
The council also learned from Town Manager Craig Allebach that the Booth Brothers are performing at the Winona Lake Heritage Room on Saturday, Aug. 21. More information on the concert may be found here.
Allebach also said that The Village at Winona’s Canal Days are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28.
The Village at Winona Managing Director Nick Hauck also shared more details about the event.
“That’s our annual event where we partner with Fellowship Missions to promote the work that they do in our community,” he said. “And we do that by having our boat regatta, so we have the cardboard race in the canal.”
In other business, the council:
- Heard from Allebach that the town’s trash pickup schedule is to change the week of Sept. 13 to Thursdays only instead of Tuesdays and Thursdays. Recycling also will move to Thursday pick-up only but still be on an every other week schedule. The town is to put out more information.
- Also approved an agreement with Indiana American Water Co. related to a water main extension from Lakeland Christian Academy to Raccoon Run. The cost is $347,148.78, but most of that will be reimbursed to the town.