KENDALLVILLE — It took Kendallville’s Economic Development Advisory Commission about 15 minutes past the 4:30 p.m. meeting time Monday to get enough members to officially meet, for a meeting that lasted a little longer than 15 seconds.
The board convened Monday to vote again on a recommendation for a five-year tax abatement for Bollhoff Inc., which plans to add $1.1 million in new equipment to its plant in the city industrial park.
EDAC members had already passed their recommendation once during a meeting on Dec. 16, but at the last Kendallville City Council meeting, council member Steve Clouse — an attorney who also serves as legal counsel for other communities in Noble County — noted that the board didn’t have a quorum of members and therefore, couldn’t officially conduct a vote on a recommendation.
Clouse asked that the tax abatement be tabled until the EDAC board could meet again in an official capacity.
“If they are going to give us a recommendation I think they should have a quorum,” Clouse said at the last council meeting. “If that step is there we should require a quorum.”
To meet that request and get the recommendation back on the agenda before the city’s next council meeting on Dec. 21, a special meeting was scheduled for Monday at 4:30 p.m.
And when the clock struck 4:30 — the board was still one member short of a quorum.
Additional board members were contacted. Mayor Suzanne Handshoe phoned city councilwoman Amy Ballard, who was in Fort Wayne at the time, to participate via phone.
But after being informed by a representative from The News Sun that although board members can participate in meetings but not be counted as present or vote on board business by telephone in accordance with Indiana’s Open Door Law, board members continued waiting.
After a 15 minute delay, Chad Ihrie of Creative Liquid Coatings showed up to give the board a quorum.
“It’s the same exact paperwork. We appreciate you being here again,” Handshoe said as they got underway. “It’s for a five-year abatement for $1.1 million in manufacturing equipment.”
With little hesitation, Dr. Alan Roush moved to recommend the tax break, with a second from Scott Frick. The board unanimously approved the recommendation.
The tax abatement comes with no new jobs at Bollhoff Inc., it would however allow the company to retain three of its employees. The company’s starting wage is $17.89.
This is the second tax break Bollhoff has received in recent history. The city granted Bollhoff a seven-year tax abatement for $3.15 million in new equipment in July 2018.