Clark was sworn in to the county council

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Jan. 9 – GOSHEN – For his first meeting as a member of Elkhart County Council, Steven Clark voted on funding for two upcoming projects: the Elkhart County Courts Consolidation Project and the Treatment Project of Foraker-Southwest Wastewater.

First, Clark was sworn in, with his wife and two children by his side.

Clark was elected at an Elkhart County Republican Party caucus Thursday night. He replaces the late Tina Wenger, who had been a member of the General Council since 2017 and was re-elected in 2020. She had three years left before her death on December 13.

NEW COURTHOUSE

The council approved an additional credit order for the debt / lease financing of the new courthouse.

County District Attorney Craig Buche explained that about a year and a half ago, council approved a $ 35 million Phase 1 bail agreement to fund the purchase of the land and to design and build the new courthouse. The 32 acres of land were purchased at 1905 Elkhart Road in Goshen.

He said that for Phase 2, the county will sell bonds to pay for the project for around $ 105 million ($ 94 million under construction and an additional $ 11 million for equipment, furniture, etc.). Since the county has already provided $ 35 million, there is about $ 69 million left.

To help save about $ 6 million in interest, the county council agreed to give the administrative building of the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office to the construction company as security for the bond issuance. They can post the bond for the courthouse because the sheriff’s administration office is already paid because it’s a completed building. Otherwise, the county would have to wait and start making payments on the courthouse when it is finished, accumulating interest in the meantime.

Todd Samuelson of Baker Tilly, the project’s financial advisers, said it was a very common method of financing construction projects used by government agencies.

The council authorized the sale of the building (sheriff’s office) at a price not to exceed $ 8.5 million. The board also approved the financial reporting plan that Samuelson reported.

Samuelson accompanied the board on the sale of the bond issue, which is expected to bring in around $ 50 million, plus premiums of $ 5.7 million. He added that the county is expected to contribute $ 20 million.

Samuelson told the board they might not contribute the full $ 20 million. There is a contingency of about $ 9 million to $ 10 million built into the report.

“Where that $ 20 million comes from is up to all of you,” Samuelson said.

FORAKER-SOUTH-WEST

For the Foraker-Sud-Ouest wastewater treatment project, council has approved $ 50,000 which will go towards the rate study to be carried out by Baker Tilly. They also approved $ 1.2 million for a construction inspection of the survey design by consultant Lochmüller Group Inc, based in South Bend. This $ 1.25 million will come from the US bailout fund.

County administrator Jeff Taylor said there are 80 to 90 homes in these areas that are to be served by the project, which will create a sewage solution for illegal discharge into a waterway. which is currently underway. So, subsequently, it will take a meeting with the residents.

He is awaiting preliminary results of the studies by January 14.

Taylor told the council that Lochmüller is considering hooking up to the Wakarusa sewerage system.

The project is under design and must be ready by June 1 so the county can use a $ 1.8 million SWIFF grant, Taylor said. It is therefore “pedaling to the metal” while everything is decided.

HUMAN SOCIETY

Council members also approved a contract with the Humane Society of Elkhart County for $ 220,000 for animal control services.

They also approved inter-local agreements for towns and cities for animal control as well. Contracts include: Elkhart, $ 139,150; Goshen, $ 85,400; Middlebury, $ 5,940; Wakarusa, $ 6,600; Bristol, $ 4,400; and Nappanee, $ 11,535.

BRIDGE CR 36

Council approved an additional $ 300,000 for the design of a bridge over CR 36, west of CR 11. The bridge project is 80% funded by the federal government.

Sheila Selman can be reached at [email protected] or at 574-533-2151, ext. 240311. Follow Sheila on Twitter @sselman_TGN.


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