By JOHN KLINE
THE GOSHEN NEWS
GOSHEN — After more than five months of rewrites, postponements, debates and haggling, Goshen City Council members have finally approved new common council districts for the city.
During their meeting Tuesday evening, the council approved what has been coined “Option 5” of the numerous proposals considered by the council over the past five months. Through Option 5, the population variance between each of the city’s five districts has been reduced to just 2.52 percent.
“I just appreciate everybody’s help,” said Council President Jim McKee of the council’s work to come up with an acceptable plan. “It’s been a struggle at times.”
With the approved changes to the districts, Council District 1 will now contain 6,445 residents, District 2 will contain 6,285 residents, Districts 3 and 4 will each contain 6,331 residents, and District 5 will contain 6,327 residents.
Also approved by the council Tuesday were tax phase-ins for two companies that could bring more than 400 new jobs to the city.
First to receive approval was Ocala, Fla.-based Falcon Corp. Falcon is a distributor for electrical, plumbing, ventilation, air conditioning, doors, windows, electronics and appliances. The company received a seven-year tax phase-in for real property and a five-year tax phase-in for personal property investments.
With the approved phase-in, the company plans to build a 170,000-square-foot distribution facility which will also serve as a regional headquarters. The $3.9 million facility will be constructed along Century Drive beginning this month. The company will also spend $502,000 for equipment.
About 27 new jobs will be created with the approved phase-in and the company will move 37 jobs to Goshen from its Elkhart facility. Wages for the new positions will range from $33,280 a year for production workers to $148,000 for sales positions.
Lippert Components was also approved. Lippert produces mobile home chassis, chassis parts and galvanized steel roofing and components for the recreational vehicle industry.
With the approved tax phase-in, the company plans to expand its operations at three Goshen facilities. According to Brinson, new manufacturing equipment, painting equipment, lathes and dust collectors will be added beginning this month. The cost will be $10 million, resulting in up to 376 new jobs being created by 2016. All the jobs created will be for production positions, which will average $13 per hour.
The council approved:
• A resolution authorizing the purchase of real estate at 1201 College Ave., Goshen, contiguous with the city’s College Avenue fire station. According to Goshen Fire Chief Dan Sink, the property will be used for future expansion of the station. Total cost of the land purchase has been quoted at $80,000.
• A major change to an ordinance involving a segment of the Keystone RV property, 3313 Corrie Drive, that will allow outside storage.
• An ordinance establishing the annual tax rate for the city’s Cumulative Building and Sinking Fund for Municipal Sewers. The tax will be levied on all taxable property within the city and will not exceed $0.02 on each $100 of assessed valuation beginning with 2013 taxes payable in 2014 and continuing each year thereafter until reduced or rescinded.