Special tax districts spur 5 percent growth in village

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

ELKHART LAKE – The village grew by five percent in 2017.

That piece of good news was one highlight of Village Administrator/ Clerk/Treasurer Jessica Reilly’s annual report to the Village Board at their March 19 meeting.

“The village saw $15 million in added growth,” Reilly told a short-staffed board. Trustees Richard Baumann, Geoffrey Bray and Richard Sadiq were absent and Village President Alan Rudnick attended via phone. Trustee Lynn Shovan presided over the meeting with Rudnick not present.

Reilly said much of the assessed value growth, from $289 million to $304 million, came from economic growth and largely through the village’s three tax incremental finance districts.

The expansion and remodeling project at Sargento that triggered the creation of TIF District 2 was completed last year, Reilly reported, and went on the tax roll fully, meaning increased revenue to fund projects and pay off the TIF.

The Throttlestop vintage auto sales business in the district opened in 2017 and a developer’s agreement for the second phase was completed.

Using TIF funds, Reilly said, the village purchased property at Lincoln Avenue (State 67) and Maple Street which it is now marketing for commercial development.

Buildouts for the Wolf Motorsports and Villa project in TIF 4 continued in 2017, Reilly continued. Work began on the ninth villa building.

Some owners in the condominium project are seeking direction from the village on adding porches and decks, an issue the village will have to decide in 2018, according to Reilly.

All projects, public and private, in the village’s other TIF district, created for an expansion of The Osthoff Resort, have been completed. “The increment for this (district) is paying for the projects that have been completed,” Reilly wrote in her report.

Room tax revenues jumped by more than 20 percent from 2016 to 2017, Reilly said, with nearly $725,000 collected.

Of that, the village retained 7 percent and the remainder went to finance tourism promotion.

The village’s website, redesigned after it was hacked and taken down last spring, has been redesigned and went live in mid-March, Reilly said.

Restoration of the caboose at the depot was completed last summer, with the next phase to be landscaping and a canopy over the caboose.

“The project took longer and cost more than expected, but the finished project is spectacular,” Reilly wrote.

Reilly commended her office staff, Katrina Weir and Kim Purkey, for their assistance in covering her duties during time she took off during 2017l.

That time was for Reilly’s own personal project, the birth in late August of her daughter Niamh – whose picture was featured several times in her written report to the board.

“It was a good year,” Shovan commented after Reilly completed her report. “I think you do a great job.”

“I also want to compliment Jessica on her report,” Rudnick added. “I thank the Village Board for the work they did last year. Let’s make this year as good as last year.”

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