Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

May 7, 2014

Council OKs contract and extends tax abatements

By Boris Ladwig Daily News
Greensburg Daily News

---- — GREENSBURG — Three new businesses opened in the city’s downtown in the first quarter, while one folded, a Main Street Greensburg leader told the city council Monday.

Sarah Robinson, executive director of the downtown organization, said the city’s center in the first three months of the year gained an obstetrician/gynecologist’s office on Main Street, an American Family Insurance office at 127 N. Broadway St., and the Red Chair Furniture Store at 110 E. Washington St., which previously housed the now defunct Instant Replay Sports.

Robinson also told the council that Main Street Greensburg already has obtained more than $10,000 in grants, or about as much as the organization projected for the entire year. Robinson said, however, that the initial projection excluded the renewal of a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant of about $7,500.

The organization’s quarterly report showed that Main Street Greensburg was a little behind on fundraising/donations and event sponsorships, but Robinson said those revenue categories are expected to receive a boost as the weather improves and the event season gets started.

The three council members who attended the meeting — Terry Wagner, Darrell Poling and Glenn Tebbe — also approved Robinson’s request to pay half of a roughly $12,000 contract for plant replacement and maintenance in downtown Greensburg.

Mayor Gary Herbert told the council that the county commissioners had agreed to pay half, and he suggested that the funds come from the Economic Development Income Tax, because the appearance of the city’s downtown plays a role in attracting businesses.

Robinson also told the council that she has turned in her two-week notice, because she will be moving to Chicago, where her fiancé has accepted a job. Robinson said that the Main Street board was to meet Tuesday evening to discuss how to find her successor.

Councilmen Jamie Cain and Blake O’Mara did not attend Monday’s meeting.

The council on Monday also:

• Approved on first reading an update to the city’s temporary sign ordinance. City Engineer Gary Murray had presented the update as approved by the Greensburg Plan Commission last month. Murray had noticed recently that some enforcement powers and penalties were not transferred from the prior ordinance. For final passage, the updates to the ordinance must be approved by the council a second time.

• Agreed to extend tax abatements to four local businesses: GECOM, Metz-Tewmey, Stradley and K-Fab. Herbert said the abatement committee recommended that the abatements continue — even though some of the companies had not fully met the conditions for the abatements. The council members unanimously approved the extensions. Herbert said after the meeting that the council always has to weigh whether to take away the abatement to punish the companies for failing to meet the targets — but then risk that the companies struggle even more.

• Heard from Greensburg resident Jean Johannigman, who asked that the Council make a decision on the proposal to turn the part-time mayor’s secretary position into a full-time assistant to the mayor and director of public affairs. The council had approved the change at the last meeting, but it needs to be approved a second time. Johannigman said that she understood that if the council takes no further action the proposal would be rejected, but she requested that the council take a position on the issue one way or another. Herbert said that given the importance of the issue, he delayed the second reading of the ordinance for a later meeting when all five council members are present.

Contact: Boris Ladwig 812-663-3111 x7401; boris.ladwig@greensburgdailynews.com