Marshall County Vision Meeting at Culver Cove

Saturday’s meeting was well attended and went quite well.  There were two County Council representatives, one County Commissioner and four Culver Town Council Members.  There were also three members of the Culver Redevelopment Commission there.  All of them were in with a mix of citizens from Culver and Union Township.  All told, there were 30+ in attendance.

Jerry Chavez, President of the Marshall County Economic Development Corporation (MCEDC) lead a group discussion on the needs of the County, both in the area of Economic Development and the deterioration of County Roads.  Handouts were provided showing the an increase in paving costs of 98% since 2003 while highway funds have actually decreased.  The Local Option Highway User Tax (LOHUT) was discussed.  Chavez said, “The State is giving us the tools to handle our problems ourselves.  We need to use them.”  He also noted that the State was considering matching County LOHUT funds… meaning if we don’t have the LOHUT in place, we will not get that funding.

The second funding mechanism we need to be looking at is a County Economic Development Income Tax (CEDIT).  One graphic in the handout showed that Marshall County is completely surrounded by counties that currently employ a CEDIT.  “Everyone that works in this County from outside the County pays CEDIT back to their County.  Everyone that lives in Marshall County and works in a surrounding County pays CEDIT.  If we had CEDIT in place, we would capture some of these funds that are already being paid.” said Roger Umbaugh, Chairman of the MCEDC Board.  Umbaugh also noted that CEDIT is an earned income tax.  It would not affect retirees.  Again, according to the handout, “Approximately 84% of Indiana Counties implement CEDIT to generate the necessary funding for the economic development strategies.”  Someone asked who would control the CEDIT Funds.  Umbaugh said, “We are advocating for MCEDC to control the funds.  We are a not for profit with representation from the County and all the Municipalities.  As an independent agency outside the government we can react quickly.  We can provide emergency funding without dozens of meetings dictated by government.  We can pay over market value for property if we think it benefits our strategy.  We can loan money.  The list of ways we are more flexible is long.”

Chavez also briefly discussed the Regional Cities Initiative and Marshall County’s position in one of the regions receiving an award.  “The $42 million dollars to be awarded to the region represents a 20% match on projects.  Another 20% can come from local government and the remaining 60% must come from private sources.”, according to Chavez.  Kathy Clark, Executive Director of the Lake Maxinkuckee Environmental Council (LMEC), asked, “Will in-kind donations such as use of land be considered in the match?”  Umbaugh responded that it was too early to know all of the fine details, but he would find out.

Questions came in from other attendees wanting to know move about specific problems in Culver, but Chavez tried to keep the discussion at a high level.  “We’re working on broad plans and strategies that will affect the County as a whole.  Many of the smaller problems mentioned, while not directly targeted, will see an indirect positive effect.  The problems in Culver are not unique.  Plymouth, Bourbon and the other communities in Marshall County have many of the same concerns.”


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