The LaGrange County Commissioners took action Monday morning that could see a resolution to the efforts to receive nearly $1 million in back taxes from Shipshewana Development, LLC, which operates the Splash Universe Waterpark.
County attorney Kurt Bachman told the commissioners that he believes “we are making substantial progress in getting all of the money owed to the town and county.”
Currently, the county has put the property on a tax certificate sale list as well as frozen a bank account operated by Shipshewana Development. However, Bachman asked the commissioners to approve a resolution that would pull the property off of the sale list and unfreeze the account for 24 hours. By doing so, it gives the company a window of opportunity to repay the back taxes owed. Bachman told the commissioners that the company has agreed to pay the back taxes once the property is off the list and the account unfrozen.
However, Bachman told the commissioners that if Shipshewana Development fails to pay tomorrow, the county will put the property back on the tax certificate sale list and continue to go after the back taxes.
Shipshewana Development owes the county a total of $931,169 in back property and personal taxes.
Some of the funds will go back to the Town of Shipshewana, including funds for the TIF district. Commissioner George Bachman noted that the amount includes penalties and fees that will cover the county’s legal fees in pursuing the matter.
“I hope I can report tomorrow that this is finished,” Kurt Bachman said.
In a related matter, the commissioners also approved using a government tax service to handle the remaining property sales that are on the tax certificate sale list. The commissioners raised the minimum bid amount on all properties by $70 to cover the agency’s fees, putting most of the properties at a minimum bid of $100.
In other business Monday:
The commissioners approved expanding the LaGrange County Redevelopment Commission (RDC) Board to seven members from the five currently serving.
The commissioners approved purchasing four scanners for the county clerk’s office to replace four that are failing. Total cost, including maintenance kits and service contract, is $5,769.
The commissioners also approved the purchase of two servers, three power supplies, and a tape backup system to replace the outdated system, totaling $33,000. LaGrange County IT Director Bob Murphy told the commissioners that the county backs up about two terabytes of information per day.
The commissioners approved the trade-in of a park department mower and purchase of a new mower for a total of $5,900.
Also approved was the purchase of new 3D archery targets for Pine Knob Park at $4,727. LaGrange County Parks Director Mike Metz noted that range fees, which totaled $6,000 last year, will be used to purchase the new targets.