FORT BRANCH—Fort Branch Town Council members say a tax abatement incentive offered to rebuild the Holiday Foods grocery store is site specific — after questions arose as to whether the abatement could be transferred to another location or owner.
Plans have been tossed around on whether the town’s only grocery store would be rebuilt, nearly three years after it burned to the ground.
Clerk Treasurer Stacey Elpers said the abatement can only be used to rebuild in the same location.
“It only applies to the property at 107 S. McCreary — it doesn’t transfer to another property and it doesn’t transfer to another person," she said at Wednesday evening's monthly meeting.
Councilman Scott Michael added the only question they still need answered is the timeline to which the abatement is scheduled to start.
The abatement sought and approved in 2015 was set to phase in the property tax on improvements over a 10-year period, with the company paying about $16,300 each year in property taxes after the incentive expires.
Owner and developer Russ Winkler said Thursday he did not wish to comment on any updates.
In other business:
Carol Hagedorn of Economic Development of Southwest Indiana presented an update on the town's storm water project. She said the state has released funds for the project, meaning the city can enter into a contract for the work. She said work is expected to begin sometime over the next several weeks. Hagedorn said the project will focus on alleviating flooding at Boyles Ditch north of the park and the central drainage system along Railroad Street.
- The council awarded conditional approval for a mural to be painted on basketball courts at Fort Branch Community Park this summer. Former Gibson Southern High School student Wes Luttrell told the council that he and a friend would be doing all of the work on the mural and have already secured sponsors to cover the costs. He estimates supplies at $2,000 and should only take about five days to complete. The request was approved based on the timeline courts are scheduled to be resurfaced. "Creativity in our community is a great thing," added councilmanTom Hauschild.
- Members discussed the process of ridding the old Town Hall building of molding records and possibly holding a public auction to get rid of some old furniture. Attorney Jim McDonald said a public notice would be advertised for the auction.
Sewer department superintendent Glen Schmitt reported flooding and water damage on the pumps and mixers at the town sewer plant. He said the claims will be issued to the insurance company.