Noble County Council OKs abatement

Article by Matt Gatts of KPC Media

ALBION — The Noble County Council approved a tax abatement Monday for Kendallville Iron and Metal.

The abatement will run for nine years, and will reduce the tax impact of more than $800,000 in new machinery and equipment for the business located at 243 E. Lisbon Road. The effect of the abatement, according to paperwork filed with the county, will involve the retention of 27 employees and the addition of two new workers, with an estimated combined salary of $98,000.

Tax abatements phase in taxes over the term, slowly increasing until the recipient is paying full property tax on the equipment. Typically abatements save companies about 50 percent of the taxes they otherwise would have paid.

Also at Monday’s meeting, the council:

• Agreed with a recommendation made by the Noble County Sheriff’s Department Merit Board to provide additional funding to the deputies’ pension plan.

By state law, the county has to pay a minimum of approximately $264,000 into the fund this year. Merit Board member Bill Anders said his group recommended the county contribute an additional $20,000, based on advice from the pension plan’s financial adviser.

That money would provide a cushion, Anders said, should the county fall on lean financial times. County attorney Dennis Graft, who also is involved with the Merit Board, also recommended the county putting in more than the minimum required by the state.

According to county coordinator Jackie Knafel, the county puts its annual riverboat casino revenue into the pension fund. There is also a separate sheriff’s pension line item and public safety tax funds can also be accessed to pay off the remainder.

The riverboat casino fund amounts to approximately $150,000 each year. The sheriff’s pension fund, collected through fees associated with serving court papers, brings in approximately $43,000 each year.

Councilman Jerry Jansen motioned to approve the Merit Board’s recommendation. Councilman Tom Janes provided the second. The measure passed unanimously.

• Heard from Knafel that county employee health insurance claims thus far totaled approximately $500,000. She called the figure high, but said it was within budgeted parameters.

She said the first half of the year carries with it a large number of claims because employees who have reached their out-of-pocket deductibles often schedule procedures for later in the year. The claims for these procedures don’t come in until the first part of the new year.

• Heard from the Noble County Highway Department that it plans to seeks another round of Community Crossings grants. The projects submitted total $1.333 million, according to Highway Department Superintendent Richard Rogers.

If the grants are received, it will involve paving C.R. 415N between C.R. 500E and Old S.R. 3; C.R. 50W from U.S. 33 to C.R. 600S and C.R. 150E from S.R. 8 to U.S. 6.

• Council President Denise Lemmon welcomed George Bennett to the Noble County Council. Bennett was elected by Republican Party caucus to serve the remainder of Mike Toles’ at-large term. Toles has recently moved away from the area.

Bennett was selected to serve the County Council’s representative on the Noble County Plan Commission and the county’s 911 Commission.

Jansen volunteered to take Toles’ spot on the board of Drug Free Noble County.