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Elkhart Deadlocks on Winnebago Tax Abatement


The Elkhart County Council decided to not make a decision yet on a request to give Winnebago Industries a tax break on expansion plans near Middlebury.

This story by Aimee Ambrose originally appeared in the Goshen News.

The move delays the abatement process by a few weeks while giving Middlebury leaders time to work out concerns with the company.

The council deadlocked on a 2–2 vote Monday, March 12 to table discussion of the issue until the council’s next meeting in April, and the tie forced the issue. Councilmen David Hess and David Foutz were in favor of tabling the vote. Councilmen Darryl Riegsecker and Tom Stump opposed the motion.

Council members John Letherman, Tina Wenger and Randall Yohn were not present at Monday’s special session, which was called to finalize the abatement process for Winnebago. The council in January preliminarily approved the proposal to give the Forest City, Iowa-based company a 10-year phase-in on real estate taxes and a seven-year tax phase-in on equipment.

Winnebago plans to invest about $12.3 million to develop a high-tech manufacturing campus around its location on 14th Street on Middlebury’s outskirts, Craig Busche, county attorney, said Monday.

The first stage calls for building two facilities, totaling 180 square feet, that would become operational by October or November, followed potentially by another two buildings in the next 18 to 24 months, according to Niall Geoghegan, Winnebago operations manager.

The County Council’s next meeting is scheduled for April 14.

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