County commissioners are discussing whether to develop a plant that would convert waste into power, and with will visit a similar renewable energy facility in Tennessee to further consider a future investment.
County Commissioner President Mike Yoder and Natasha Kauffmann, county redevelopment coordinator, plan to travel with a representative from Jones Petrie Rafinski, a civil engineering consulting firm, to Tennessee next week to explore a waste-energy operation there.
The trip was discussed during the commissioners meeting Monday.
Yoder said after the meeting, a company, he couldn’t say which, is considering possibly investing in such a plant locally, but so far plans are in very preliminary stages.
The trip should provide the county with more information on the prospective business as well as an opportunity to investigate whether or not to such a project could be eligible for potential development incentives, according to county Planning and Development Director Chris Godlewski. He indicated the possible development could go up near the Elkhart County Landfill in the Western Gateway tax increment financing district.
Yoder pointed out the county has considered at least a few similar proposals for waste-energy plants since the Great Recession, but those plans didn’t work out. Whether the current plan comes to fruition remains to be seen.
JPR is expected to cover travel costs for the exploratory trip, the meeting agenda shows.
During Monday’s meeting, the commissioners approved the two contracts, totaling about $4.6 million, for Rieth-Riley Construction Co. to lead road paving projects in the county this year.
On another issue, the commissioners approved county Landfill and Solid Waste District Director John Bowers’ request to transfer about $7.7 million from the department’s newly designated landfill operations fund. The money was moved into three other accounts to align with a recent ordinance that reorganized landfill fund accounts.
The commissioners also approved spending $360,000 from the landfill operations fund to buyout a residential property just north of the landfill’s entrance along C.R. 7.
Bowers also received permission to travel to the Solid Waste Association of North America convention in Phoenix in October.
And the commissioners approved appropriating $100,000 from the environmental/special projects fund for Horizon Education Alliance.
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