The project to rebuild 1.9 miles of CR 200N at a cost of some $3.2 million was rejected by county council members at a meeting Monday. The project died for lack of a motion to proceed with funding for the project.
The project had been approved in 2012 with funding to come from a bond issue that would be repaid with County Economic Development Income Tax (EDIT) dollars. Later, it was discovered that there is not sufficient money available in EDIT to fund the bond repayment.
County Attorney Kurt Bachman explained to the joint meeting of council and commissioners that the project can be funded with an EDIT funded bond issue, providing that county council is comfortable with moving approximately $300,000 of current EDIT expenditures to a different funding source. Currently this amount has been dedicated to county employee health insurance.
It was suggested by Bachman, in concert with County Auditor Kay Myers and County Financial Advisor Jeff Peters, that the funding of health insurance be shifted to a newly created County Adjusted Gross Income Tax (CAGIT) funding source.
Both CAGIT and EDIT funds are expected to increase starting in 2014.
It was pointed out that this method of funding the road project will limit the use of EDIT funds for the next 15 years.
County Highway Superintendent Jeff Brill suggested that council members either pay for the project from Major Moves or drop the project completely. “The money in Major Moves is losing purchasing power every day,” Brill said. “Why would we want to issue a bond and pay interest over 15 years when we have the money in the bank (which is earning virtually no interest) to pay now?”
Council approved a motion to move ahead with the concept of loaning money to the county economic development corporation (EDC), which in turn will work out details with the county redevelopment corporation (RDC) to construct a shell building at Fawn River Crossing. The RDC is expected to contract with Garman Construction for a 75,000 sq. ft. structure at a cost of some $3.569 million.
Bachman was given approval to negotiate terms and conditions into agreements that will satisfy the county council, county commissioners, EDC, RDC and Garman Construction. Council refused to commit funding for the project until the terms of the agreement are negotiated.
Former county council member Fred Brown was appointed to the Economic Development Commission. He replaces Dr. Larry Phillips, who recently resigned.