Stormwater Coordinator Ryan Workman (R) speaks to the Warsaw Common Council about a transfer of funds Monday while Warsaw Community and Economic Development Director Jeremy Skinner listens. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
Stormwater Coordinator Ryan Workman (R) speaks to the Warsaw Common Council about a transfer of funds Monday while Warsaw Community and Economic Development Director Jeremy Skinner listens. Photo by David Slone, Times-Union.
The Warsaw Common Council could receive the ordinance for the redistricting of the Council boundaries as early as their June 6 meeting.

The Council held a special meeting May 2 to review two potential redistricting maps proposed by a committee, coming to a consensus on the first option where U.S. 30 is a divider line between Districts 4 and 5 and keeps neighborhoods more intact.

Mayor Joe Thallemer told the Council at their meeting Monday that Kosciusko County Clerk Ann Torpy has done a “great job of giving us a hand, looking at our first go-around, and she basically acknowledged that they’ll have to change some precinct lines but that’s part of the process, but she wanted to make sure we didn’t cross any of the ... Census blocks.”

He said he, Council President Jack Wilhite and city attorney Scott Reust will sit down together Tuesday to go through the ordinance and make sure all the requirements of the three state statutes that govern the process are met. Pending everything coming out OK at that meeting, Thallemer said the Council will have its first reading on the redistricting ordinance at their meeting June 6.

“It is an ordinance change. We certainly want to take our time with this as far as making sure the public is aware,” he said.

Thallemer noted he wrote his May 6 monthly column for the Times-Union about the redistricting and put down that the map was available on the city’s website. They’ve been available for the public to check out for the past two weeks and will continue to be posted on the website, he said. There also are copies of the map in the mayor’s office.

“I encourage those folks who are interested to make themselves available to those,” he said.

Reust said state statute doesn’t require a public hearing on them.

“I think the thing that is a little tricky for me is, you can’t pass an ordinance where you’re crossing precinct lines, so I think it’s the chicken or the egg. I think the county has to establish the precincts prior to us passing the ordinance so that the precincts are set so we don’t do something and have them uncommitted to the precincts,” Reust said.

Thallemer said they’ll discuss that at the meeting Tuesday, but he didn’t think that would stop the Council from moving forward.

Councilman Mike Klondaris asked if Torpy changed the map when she looked at it.

Thallemer said she didn’t change anything. She acknowledged that some changes needed to be made on the precincts and they are going to do that as it’s not something the city is allowed to do. Torpy looked specifically at the Census population blocks.

When the precinct lines didn’t get changed 10 years ago, Thallemer said they had problems then.

“Jack and myself, we’ve all been meeting with Ann saying, ‘We want to do this right, walk us through this thing.’ And she’s been fantastic. I can’t say enough good about the assistance she’s given us,” he said.

The Council earlier in the meeting unanimously approved eight tax abatement compliance review forms, presented by Community Economic and Development Director Jeremy Skinner.

The first three were related to Patrick Industries at 1445 Polk Drive in the Warsaw Technology Park. Skinner said Patrick Industries made the investment of $3.2 million on new equipment and West Hill Development LLC put about $10 million into the building. Patrick Industries is in their fourth year for their abatement on the new equipment; West Hill is in its seventh year of abatement for the original $4.485 million building; and West Hill is in its third year of abatement for the additional 64,000 square feet added to the building at around $4.9 million.

The tax abatement for Banner Medical Innovations Inc., 1295 Polk Drive, is specific to personal property. They spent over $4 million in personal property and hired 38 new employees since starting production in 2016, Skinner said. They are in their sixth year of abatement.

The fifth tax abatement was for West Hill Development LLC for the real property improvements they made on the Banner Medical building at 1295 Polk Drive. Skinner said West Hill made about $5,143,000 in real property improvements and were in their sixth year.

The next tax abatement was for Instrumental Machine & Development Inc./TBS LLC, 2098 N. Pound Drive. The real and personal property tax abatement was issued in 2019. They invested around $1.1 million in improvements, $1.2 million in personal property improvements and spent $2.9 million on real property, Skinner said. They are in their third year of the abatement.

Little Crow Lofts, East Market Street, the affordable housing development the city partnered with, is in its fifth year of tax abatement.

Torrent Holdings LLC, 406 E. Bell Drive, which Skinner said changed its name to HZZ LLC, was granted a tax abatement in 2015 by Kosciusko County for real property improvements estimated at around $770,000, before the property was annexed into the city. HZZ spent around $663,000 in real property improvements since 2015, Skinner said, and they’re in their fifth year of abatement.

In other business, the Council:

• Reviewed a letter from municipal advisors Baker Tilly that the sale of the $1,711,000 taxable economic development tax increment revenue bonds for the Marketplace of Warsaw project closed last week. Lake City Bank, the purchaser of the bonds, offered an interest rate of 5.55%.

• Heard the city will receive a supplemental distribution of about $183,000 from the Local Option Income Tax and approximately $45,000 from the Economic Development Income Tax (EDIT).

County Auditor Michelle Puckett told the Kosciusko County Council on Thursday that the county’s portion of a supplemental distribution of County Option Income Tax funds was going to be $219,669 and $160,208 from a supplemental distribution of EDIT funds.

The “refund” to the taxing units is provided when the state collects more tax dollars than it estimated the taxing unit would receive.

• Acknowledged a petition for voluntary annexation by Jeffery and Maureen Smith for the property at 2199 E. Old 30.

Skinner said the property meets the 50% external boundaries and the Smiths own 100% of the land. He said sanitary sewer is out front of the property so it will be an easy hook-up.

The annexation will need to be advertised in the newspaper, and a fiscal plan, public hearing and ordinance will be part of the next steps of the process. Skinner said the Council may hear it at their second meeting in June.

• Approved a resolution for the transfer of $8,500 from contracted repair/maintenance to machinery/equipment, as requested by Oakwood Cemetery sexton Hal Heagy. The reason for the transfer was due to an increase in costs of a new truck for the cemetery.

• Approved a resolution for the total transfer of $93,500 from cumulative capital development supplies, professional services and repairs and maintenance to CCD improvements, as requested by Stormwater Coordinator Ryan Workman.

Workman said, “In preparation for the Kelly Park pond project, we are utilizing CCD funds, actually the remainder of the CCD funds, so that’s why we are putting all of our eggs into one basket.”