Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Breaking News

December 30, 2012

Completion of C.R. 17 was big accomplishment for county government

GOSHEN — 2012 was a rather uneventful year for Elkhart County government, with limited funds coupled with the need to downsize and streamline leaving little money left over for major building or infrastructure projects.

That said, there were some significant achievements made during the year, and we at The News recently sat down with Elkhart County Administrator Tom Byers and Elkhart County Councilman Dave Hess to reflect on some of the past year’s biggest hardships and success stories, as well as what’s to come for 2013.

According to Hess, 2013 was really just about maintaining services and managing the budget effectively. Big, expensive projects never really came into play — at least not like they had in previous years.

“I’ve been through years when there had been project after project after project, when we were asking ourselves ‘How are we going to finance this?’ and ‘How are we going to finance that?” Hess said. “In the past two or three years, we’ve just not been able to do any of that. So now we’re just kind of down to how do we best manage the budget and manage the services in the framework. And looking forward to 2013, it looks like that challenge is going to continue.”

As an example, Hess pointed to the continued loss of revenue experienced by the county through the state’s property tax caps and a loss of revenue associated with reduced jail bed rentals at the Elkhart County Correctional Facility as a contributing factor in what he expects to be another tight budget year in 2013.

“As the loss of revenue from the caps increases and as our loss of revenue from bed rental from the jail comes into play, coupled with further reduced interest earnings, that continues to put a tremendous squeeze on existing budgets,” Hess said. “Looking forward to 2013, I think what we’re really going to have to do is continue to evaluate the staffing levels, because after all that’s the biggest expense in government. And the other thing that I don’t know how to predict really depends on what happens in Washington, and how the issue with the so-called ‘fiscal cliff’ is going to play out. That is really one huge unknown for state and local government.”

C.R. 17 finished

Declining revenues and squeezed budgets aside, Byers was quick to point out one significant standout for the county this year — the successful completion of the most recent phase of C.R. 17 down to C.R. 38 this past October.

“The opening of C.R. 17 down to C.R. 38 was certainly a milestone,” Byers said.

Even so, Byers noted that this most recent extension of C.R. 17 has not been without controversy, with county and city officials butting heads over what they feel is the best option for an east/west road connecting C.R. 17 to the city’s south side.

From the county’s perspective, officials feel that the C.R. 17/C.R. 38 intersection is adequate as a connector road allowing truck traffic from the Elkhart area to bypass downtown Goshen while still giving access to the large industrial parks on the city’s south side.

However, a wrench was recently thrown into those plans when members of the Goshen City Council voted to pass an ordinance banning truck traffic involving trailers greater than 40 feet long on a small section of C.R. 38 located from Ind. 15 west to the city limits. Done in the name of safety — city officials feel the small section of roadway is unsafe for large truck traffic — such a change will effectively force the drivers of larger semi-trucks to detour to state routes, including Ind. 119 if they wish to gain access to the city from C.R. 17.

Like Hess, Byers noted that other than the big C.R. 17 project, the county really didn’t have much excess funding available for large building and infrastructure projects.

“It sure makes a difference when you have no money to build things,” Byers said.

Revenue increase?

On a more general note, Byers said he is seeing some positive things relative to the increase in Local Option Income Tax as the county heads into 2013.

“2013 is still a tight budget year, but it appears with the increased employment we’re seeing, that those figures are beginning to go up,” Byers said. “And obviously seeing people getting back to work and having more job opportunities is a great thing for the county.”

As for any big projects or plans that may be in the works for 2013, Byers pointed to possible resuscitation of discussions about a new juvenile detention center and work release center for the county.

“Those discussions have come up off and on for quite a while,” Byers said. “But I want to emphasize ‘discussions’, because we’re not going to be in the position to build either of those any time soon. But we can at least start planning them.”

Along those lines, Byers also pointed to the possibility of more discussion on the next phase of C.R. 17 construction popping up in the coming year.

“I also hope we can start talking about what the next phase of C.R. 17 is,” Byers said, “and what the timeline might be for that.”

Current plans for C.R. 17 are to extend the road from C.R. 38 to C.R. 40, though the currently discussed extension would involve a less expensive two lane road rather than the four lanes that make up the C.R. 17 corridor. County officials have indicated that phase of the project could begin as early as this coming spring.

1
Text Only
Breaking News
  • Kulp is new Goshen softball coach Brent Kulp was hired as the new Goshen High School softball coach at Monday night’s school board meeting. He was a physical education and health teacher in the Baugo Community Schools for 18 years and head softball coach at Jimtown High School for 15 seasons. Under his direction, Jimtown earned five Northern State Conference championships, five sectional titles and two regional titles and his teams compiled an overall record of 285-133-1.

    July 28, 2014

  • Middlebury man burned in water heater blast 
 MIDDLEBURY — Authorities say a Middlebury man has been hospitalized after he was injured when a water heater exploded. Firefighters tell WSBT-TV the man in his 20s was trying to light a water heater that had run out of gas and used too much fuel. The

    July 26, 2014

  • Clinton Frame leaving IN-MI Mennonite Conference over same-sex marriage

    After nearly 100 years of being in the Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference, Clinton Frame Mennonite Church officials announced it will be leaving because of the controversy related to same-sex marriage.

    July 24, 2014

  • Red D Mart armed robbery New Paris Police ask for public's help in identifying would-be robber

    Elkhart County police have released still photos captured from video of the man who attempted to hold up Red D Mart gas station, 68310 Ind. 15, New Paris, on Saturday, July 19.

    July 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Red Cross in urgent need of donors

    The American Red Cross is facing a blood shortage, leading to an urgent need for donors of all blood types to roll up a sleeve and give.

    July 23, 2014

  • Huron Street residents under boil order

    Tuesday morning, Goshen water crews shut down the water main on Huron Street to replace a broken fire hydrant.
    The Indiana Department of Environmental Management requires the Water Utility to issue a boil water order for the affected area, which is Huron Street from West Lincoln to Pike Street.

    July 23, 2014

  • GN140723 CR34-Ind. 13 Crash 1 LaGrange man airlifted from scene of crash A motorcyclist was seriously injured in a crash at Ind. 13 and C.R. 34 at 1:48 p.m. Tuesday. Terry Fry, 44, LaGrange, was airlifted by MedFlight from the scene. Elkhart County police said he was taken to South Bend Memorial Hospital with fractures to

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Suspicious blinking package with battery pack causes police to evacuate business area

    A package with a battery pack and a blinking red light found on the desk of an employee at MSC, 28551 Laura Court, Elkhart, caused police and firefighters to evacuate the area this morning.
    The package turned out to be a GPS tracking device and not a bomb.

    July 22, 2014

  • Cat beaten to death in burglary

    A house cat was found beaten to death following a burglary at a home in Howe Sunday.

    July 21, 2014

  • GN140721 Kosciusko Fatal Photo #2.jpg Fiery crash kills one, critically injures two in North Webster

    A fiery crash in North Webster left a Pennsylvania man dead and two others critically injured at 3:21 p.m. Sunday on Ind. 13, near Esterbrook Drive.

    July 21, 2014 4 Photos

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
Poll

With military action and tensions escalating between Russia and Ukraine, as well as Israel and Palestine, are you worried that the U.S. and other nations may get drawn into these conflicts?

Yes, it is a great concern of mine
I’m a little worried, but not too much
No, I’m not worried at all
     View Results