Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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June 4, 2013

Commissioners want to tap Toll Road fund for local road repairs

GOSHEN — Elkhart County Commissioners Monday voted to approve a $700,000 additional appropriation from the county’s Major Moves Construction fund to go toward county road maintenance.

With the additional appropriation, the commissioners hope to increase the county’s current road paving and maintenance program funding from $2.2 million to just over $3 million — a significant increase, though still short of the projected $7 million needed to complete all road maintenance and repair projects highlighted for the county this year alone.

With its approval by the commissioners Monday, the additional appropriation request will now move on to the Elkhart County Council for final consideration at the council’s Saturday meeting.

According to County Administrator Tom Byers, the County Council in the past has been reluctant to use Major Moves funds for road maintenance projects due to concerns that the funds may be needed for larger and more pressing projects down the line.

However, during Monday’s meeting, Byers noted that a provision has been found in the original ordinance that created the Major Moves Fund from revenue from the state’s lease of the Indiana Toll Road, that indicates any Major Moves funds that exceed the growth factor of 1.9 percent can be used for road maintenance.

“So we went back and we took a look at that,” Byers said, “and there are funds that exceed the growth factor that are in the Major Moves fund.”

If the council were to approve the request for Major Moves funds, Byers noted that the county would stick with its plan to eliminate several road projects slated for C.R. 6 and Ash Road as an additional cost saving measure.

“We would also add to that list of eliminating the programed right of way purchase on C.R. 38 for this year, and simply move that back into 2014,” Byers said. “Then lastly, if they approve that, we would go back and do a reduction in the $1 million appropriation that was approved by the council last month.”

“If all of that happens that way, when all is said and done, we would have a $700,000 appropriation from Major Moves, a $1.2 million appropriation that has already been made from the Wheel Tax, we will still have roughly $440,000 from EDIT, and then the Redevelopment Commission at their last meeting recommended $770,000 of Northeast TIF monies be allocated for roads, either C.R. 6-C.R. 17, or other county roads in the NE TIF district,” Byers said. “That will give us about a $3.1 million paving program.”

Following unanimous approval by the three commissioners, Commissioner Mike Yoder said, “That’s a good program,” Yoder said. “It took a lot of sweat to get here.”

Other business

In other business, the board approved:

• A $149,357 grant renewal application for the county’s Maternal Child Health-Prenatal Care Coordination program;

• A $50,874 grant renewal application for the MCH-Children’s Dental program;

• A $560,000 additional appropriation from the Cumulative Bridge fund for Simonton Street bridge construction and inspection;

• A $400,000 additional appropriation from the Motor Vehicle Highway fund for $400,000 to replace three vehicles;

• A $277,081 additional appropriation from the Economic Development Income Tax fund to make the C.R. 17 Phase 2C Major Moves fund payment; and,

• A $750,001 additional appropriation from the Major Bridge fund to make the Six Span Bridge Major Moves fund payment.


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