Markle considering voluntary annexation of land into town

The Markle Town Council is considering a request for voluntary annexation into the town of about 30 acres of land owned by Kyle and Lisa Lund.

At the council’s regular meeting Wednesday, June 20, Ordinance 2018-6, if adopted, would annex the property, which butts up against the town’s industrial park, said Council President Jeff Humbarger.

During a public hearing on the ordinance, Mark Wickersham, executive director of Huntington County Economic Development, encouraged the council to adopt the ordinance. He said the roughly 125 acres of adjacent land, now the Markle Industrial Park, had an assessed value of about $165,000 at the time it was purchased, generating approximately $5,000 per year in real property tax revenue.

“Today the assessed value associated with the real property only is over $8.2 million, it’s annexed into the town of Markle as you know, and generates approximately $229,000 per year in real property tax revenue, in addition to the revenues captured in the TIF (Tax Increment Financing) district as well,” he added.

The request got a favorable nod when the council unanimously voted to adopt Resolution 2018-4, a fiscal plan in support of the annexation ordinance for the Lunds’ property.

The plan calls for police and fire protection to be provided within one year of the annexation’s effective date, and water, sewer and other utility services within three years following the annexation date.

However, the annexation ordinance itself cannot be acted on until at least 14 days following the public hearing, a task the council will address at its July 18 meeting. Following the annexation, the land will remain zoned as agricultural until another request is made to change it.

A second public hearing held for Ordinance 2018-7, which would appropriate a total of $191,374.43 into Local Option Income Tax and Local Road and Bridge Matching Grant funds for Community Crossings projects, was also held, with no objection from the public. The council voted 3-1 to approve the ordinance on its first reading.

The funds will be used for paving and improvements to various streets and roads in the town.

Ordinance 2018-5, updating the town’s construction code, also passed with a 3-0 vote.

On another action item, the council approved a personal property abatement for Wayne Metals, on improvements of about $300,000 made to a piece of equipment which received a previous abatement.

The town is getting a new GMC pickup truck, as the old truck has reached 18 years of age, which is the usual age for replacement, said Town Supervisor Rick Asher. The council approved the purchase by consensus. The truck purchase, at $36,046, includes a new snowplow. Clerk-Treasurer Carolyn Hamilton said there is money in the general fund plus TIF funds to pay for the vehicle.