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County council approves funds for EDC


Members of the LaGrange County Council unanimously approved $250,000 from the county Economic Development Income Tax (EDIT) fund for use by the EDC at Monday’s meeting. The funds will go into the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) investment fund and will be used for “carrot” money to attract and retain business in LaGrange County.

    EDC Director Keith Gillen-water told council members that the original $250,000 investment was granted in December 2009. Of that amount, $100,000 was returned to the county for purchase of the Fawn River Crossing Industrial Park. Another $120,000 was spent for infrastructure and closing costs for nine different projects. About $30,000 is still remaining in the EDC investment fund.

“This $120,000 has returned about $400,000 a year, not only for this year but hopefully for many years to come, of CAGIT and EDIT tax that comes back to the county,” Gillenwater stated.

Council members applauded Gillenwater and the EDC for the prudent use of economic development dollars.

Health Department Director Alf Garcia asked council members to approve the use of $15,000 of a tobacco settlement grant for printing and advertising. The settlement fund dollars have specific use guidelines that are directed at educating the public on the effects tobacco products have on health. Council approved the plan as presented.

Monica Bennett was introduced as the acting animal warden. She will be a county employee until such time as animal control and the animal shelter are turned over to Ark Animal Rescue. It is expected these arrangements will be completed within the next week or two.

Public announcements made at the council meeting included:

·        The annual Soil and Water Conservation District (SWCD) meeting will begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday at the 850 Center in Shipshewana.

·        There is about $20 million available in state matching grants for use in securing natural (park) areas. The county parks department is considering a project.

·        The legislature is considering a 911 funding bill that will assess all telephones based on where a person lives at a rate of 75¢ or $1 each per month. Currently there is no fee on track phones, a 50¢ fee on cellphones (based on where the phone is purchased) and $2.20 for landline telephones.

    Council also approved a number of line-item transfers as well as a number of salary ordinance changes.