Yorktown IN looks to the future, toward Interstate 69 and Park One
By Rick Yencer
YORKTOWN, IN - The growing green community of Yorktown took bold steps Monday to seek a new Interstate 69 interchange, finish much needed infrastructure to Park One and also make spending cuts without impacting services or laying off employees.
And the all Republican town council showed how it could work with Democratic county government when Todd Donati, Delaware County commissioners president, handed over a $750,000 check from county economic development income tax funds to build that sewer to serve Mursix, Brevini and Save-A-Lot Foods at Park One.
"We all work together for the good of the community to improve business opportunities at Park One," said Donati.
The county money will go toward the $1.5 million expense of building a sewer from Yorktown to the industrial park at I-69 and Ind. 332. The development was left with little utility support after First Merchants sold a nearby treatment facility to a private interest for less than government was willing to pay. Some say the bank's decision jeopardized growth of industrial development there..
The county also is seeking federal money to build a long awaited rail spur to the park that will be part of Yorktown with the new consolidated government in 2013.
Brad Bookout, county redevelopment director, also lauded the town for working with county government in the name of jobs and growth. While Brevini is still trying to increase employment, Mursix's move to Park One has been a boom with more than 250 working at the plant.
The future of Yorktown could be held in a new interchange at the bridge that now carries County Road 100-S over I-69.
Council member Steve Fields proposed the measure, petitioning the Indiana Department of Transportation for the interchange, much like the late J. Roberts Dailey, former speak of the Indiana House, and other community leaders did to get Ind. 332 finished so it could be a highway to the interstate.
Fields said the interchange, that will take years and millions of dollars to building, would provide a direct route to Yorktown that already has Ind. 32 running through the old town with Ind. 332 on the north side of the new town.
He had support from council member Rick Glaub who proposed that new interchange years ago, and council member Robert Flanagan who said he probably would never see the interchange built.
Council President Robert Ratchford and council member Laura Vise voted against the interstate access, raising concerns about truck traffic and more traffic near Yorktown schools and that multi-million dollar Yorktown Sports Park.
Glaub believed more direct access would help with growth in the community that just decided to abolish township government and become a larger town.
That larger town also has to absorb a township fire department and public assistance for those in need. And on Monday, it had to cut about $1.5 million in capital and operating funds to remain within available tax revenue.
Clerk-Treasurer Beth Neff explained most of the spending would be cut from the town's cumulative capital fire fund that had a healthy balance of more than $600,000. None of the cuts will result in layoffs or reduction of services. Town Manager Pete Olson added that spending had been slowed as officials develop a 2013 budget that will consolidate town and township services.
In a surprise move, the council decided not to double cumulative capital fire or cumulative capital development funds as a savings account for the new government. Olson explained any increase in capital funds would mean cuts in operating funds, and bringing on a fire department that paid per run could need more money to operate.
Ratchford insisted the town has been conservative in its spending despite raising taxes in 2012 and depleting its rainy day fund to cover more spending at the sports park. All council members face re-election and have been sensitive to growing criticism that they have raised property taxes.