News

Tax abatements are now under close scrutiny in Daviess County after some companies who have gotten them haven’t filed the necessary yearly paperwork.

The county currently has somewhere around a dozen tax abatements that are open. Of those, several companies have yet to file the required CF-1 forms. The forms are designed to keep the county updated on progress towards goals stated in the abatement. That includes progress on filling the number of jobs covered in the abatement.

Now last month, county attorney Grant Swartzentruber sent out letters to remind the businesses that the forms need to be filed. Officials say they aren’t necessarily concerned about businesses intentionally not filing the forms nor do they intend to remove the abatements. Rather, they say they are looking to see how the business is doing with the abatement and compare that progress to the original application. Officials hope to have the forms in hand at the next county council meeting on May 7th. The deadline for the forms is May 15th.

Meanwhile, Governor Mike Pence announced recently that the state would be one of 7 to participate in a review of economic development incentives. The study is being led by the Pew Charitable Trusts and that group is studying which tax breaks and incentives have been effective in bringing businesses and jobs to the state. Pence says the state’s inclusion in the study will help Indiana to be more competitive.

Incentive packages are also offered through the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. However, that agency has refused to make job creation numbers public to this point.

Other states in the study are Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Employees in Martin County will see a pay raise in the near future.

Last week, the Martin County Council heard more about a meeting between themselves, the county commissioners, and county department heads. At that meeting, it was agreed that county employees would see a 5 percent pay raise and Health Savings Accounts would be implemented for the employees. Officials say the raises will be paid in a lump sum. That could happen sometime next month.

The raises were agreed upon after debate surrounding funding for the Loogootee City Pool project. Back in March, the pool committee approached the county council to get a 5 year pledge. That pledge would result in the county providing nearly 300 thousand dollars over that 5 year span. At that time, county department heads and employees voiced their concerns about donating that much money to the project when county employees were not receiving raises in the current budget. That led to the agreement for the 5 percent raises.

A domestic incident led to a Huntingburg man’s arrest over the weekend.

At 8:20 last night, Huntingburg Police were called to a residence in the 300 block of Van Buren Street on a report of domestic battery. When they arrived, police spoke with Belyinet Hickey. She told police that her husband (43-year-old Myles Hickey) had grabbed her violently while she was holding the couple’s 2-year-old daughter. Police found marks on Belyinet Hickey.

Myles was taken into custody and he was lodged in the Dubois County Security Center. He is charged with a Class D felony for battery in the presence of a child under the age of 16.

Plans for annexation in Tell City are now closing in on becoming reality.

At their most recent meeting, the Tell City Council voted unanimously to adopt an annexation ordinance for more than 17 hundred acres of land north of the city. That land would be brought into city limits later this year.

The recent vote ends the annexation process which took nearly 2 years to come together. Tell City mayor Barbara Ewing says the annexation is an important part of the future in Tell City. She also says a lot of thought went into it.

Now annexation was one of the priorities listed in Tell City’s comprehensive plan. The idea was born out of committee meetings among city department heads, meetings which took place last year.

In the end, the plan was not without its opponents. During March’s meeting, many citizens turned up to express their desire to remain outside of the city limits. Those opponents pointed to higher taxes and city meddling as their reasoning for opposing the plans.

The ordinance could take effect in July, but a remonstration process is possible if enough homeowners in the area challenge the ordinance. Annexation opponents have already scheduled a hearing. That will take place at 6 pm this Thursday at Dixon’s Auction Service along State Road 37.

A traffic stop near Huntingburg resulted in two people receiving court citations.

At about 11:20 last night, Huntingburg Police stopped a vehicle that had been driving in the 300 block of North Main Street without its headlights on. The officer stopped the vehicle, which was being
driven by 22-year-old Tyler Smith of Dale.

After stopping Smith, the officer noticed a strong odor of marijuana coming from inside of the vehicle. After Smith gave his consent, police searched the vehicle and found marijuana in the car. A female juvenile passenger was also found to be in possession of marijuana.

Smith and the passenger were cited into court on Class A misdemeanors for possession of marijuana. The juvenile was released to a guardian while Smith was later released by police.

The Jasper Strassenfest committee is now seeking sponsors for this year’s Strassenfest.

The committee has various sponsorship packages available. These range from 50 dollars for a name listing to 15 hundred dollars. The 15 hundred dollar sponsorship includes company name listing, company logos, and several other benefits including having your business or family name listed in the Strassenfest program booklet and on the website.

Any business who is interested in being a sponsor for this year’s Strassenfest can do so in several different ways. These include going online to jasperstrassenfest.org and clicking on the sponsorship link. You can also call sponsorship coordinator Lisa Wallace at 639-3651 or the Jasper Chamber of Commerce at 482-6866.

The deadline for registration in order to have your business or family name listed is May 1st.

MasterBrand Cabinets, announced earlier today its plans to expand its Ferdinand operations creating up to 262 jobs by the end of 2016.

Company president Dave Randich detailed the expansion plans for the company’s Ferdinand plant, at a press conference at held at the Ferdinand facility.

Randich says the company will invest around 8 million dollars for equipment at the plant. He says the equipment will add additional capacity and product offerings at the 500 thousand square foot facility.

The company plans to begin hiring cabinet assemblers, component pullers, shipping helpers, supervision, and quality positions immediately.

Randich says the company’s investment will pay dividends all around:

Indiana Lt. Governor and Ferdinand native Sue Ellspermann along with Ferdinand town officials and members of the Ferdinand town council were also among those on hand for today’s announcement. Ellspermann says the news of Masterbrand’s expansion coincides with the current administartion’s mission of the state:

Ellspermann says tax policy changes the state legislature has made over the last couple of years have made a big impact. She says the state will now be shifting its priorities to developing a workforce to match with the skills employers are looking for.

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered MasterBrand Cabinets up to 1 and a quarter million dollars in conditional tax credits and up to $100,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. The town of Ferdinand approved additional tax abatements at the request of Dubois Strong.

Today’s announcement marked the 2nd expansion for the company in the state in as many years. Last March, the company announced its intentions to add 76 new jobs at its Goshen facility. As of last month, the company has exceeded that goal, adding 109 jobs.

Headquartered in Jasper, MasterBrand Cabinets currently employs more than 35 hundred associates at its 6 facilities across the state. More than 15 hundred work at the Ferdinand facility. The company was founded back in 1954 in Celestine.