Numbers add up to good news for Elkhart Lake

THE NUMBERS SAY THE village of Elkhart Lake had a good year in 2017 and, in this case, the numbers don’t lie.

Village Administrator/Clerk/Treasurer Jessica Reilly gave her office’s annual report to the Village Board last month and it was good news.

It started with the village’s total assessed valuation, which grew during the year by five percent, from just over $289 million to just over $304 million – a $15 million jump.

What made up that growth was another good sign for the village, as much of it came in new and expanded industrial, commercial and retail developments.

Sargento Foods and The Osthoff Resort, two of the village’s major employers, both completed expansion projects that were aided immensely by two of the village’s three tax incremental finance districts.

New businesses, in and out of the TIF districts – including Throttlestop vintage auto sales, Compassionate Care Animal Clinic and Switchgear Brewery – opened with bright futures in the village in 2017.

The village’s newest TIF district saw strong growth as well, as the Wolf Villas and Wolf Motorsports development continued strong growth, adding more than $6 million to the village’s total assessed value.

And it appears likely that the village’s TIFs will continue to be an instrument of growth in the coming years as well, with other developments in various early stages in TIF 2 and TIF 4. All of that holds out hope that all three of the village’s existing districts will prove to be as successful – for business, the village and local residents – as the village’s first such district, which helped make The Osthoff Resort possible, proved to be.

But the good news didn’t stop there for the village.

Numbers were robust as well for the village’s main economic driving force, its tourism industry.

Total room tax collected in the village grew by 28 percent from 2015 to 2017, reflecting the continuing health and robustness of tourism in the village. Thanks to an increase in the percentage of room tax revenue the village retains – still only seven percent, with the remainder going to tourism promotion – income to the village from the room tax has jumped almost 50 percent since 2015.

There was much more good news in the report as well.

Village officials obtained grant funds enabling lead service laterals to be completely removed in the entire village. The restoration of the landmark caboose next to the depot was completed, with plans to complete landscaping around and a canopy over the caboose to be the next phase. The village’s website, hacked and crashed early in the year, was rebuilt and relaunched early this year.

All in all, it was a good year for Elkhart Lake in 2017, another good year, with the bright prospect of more good years to come.

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