Local government officials gave an optimistic presentation on the future of the City of Crawfordsville and Montgomery County during a legislative luncheon on Friday hosted by the Crawfordsville/Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce.
Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton, Crawfordsville Council President Andy Biddle, Montgomery County Council President Tom Mellish and County Administrator Tom Klein each took turns addressing the audience which represented 26 county organizations and several individuals.
Attendees learned there are numerous projects happening in the city and county.
Barton said there is available funding for many of these projects. He added the city’s assessed valuation increased $80 million for the upcoming year and that will be reflected in future property tax rates.
“Things are moving very fast right now,” Barton said. “We are in a strong fiscal position. With the increase in assessed valuation, we have a bigger tax base. At this time we are expecting a decrease in city property taxes beginning next year.”
Barton highlighted several positive developments in the city. From a recent study of retail development, neighbor park renovations and road extensions, to adding housing at all income levels.
“We know that retail follows housetops,” Barton said. “Working with the county we have extended the Purple Heart Parkway, which gives us opportunity for more housing and retail development.”
The new road being planned will travel from U.S. 231 South to Ladoga Road.
Biddle used his time to praise Barton. He said the mayor has been instrumental in the city’s improvements.
“I can tell you it has been a pleasure working with Mayor Barton,” Biddle said. “We are moving forward and good things continue to happen.”
Klein took time to explain the upcoming changes in the county real estate tax levies. The county is increasing the tax levy by 1%. Also, the Local Income Tax will increase in 2023 by .25%. The additional funds from the increases will pay for public safety and upgrades at the 911 communication center.
Mellish said continued supply issues and increased costs resulting from the pandemic has forced the council to address the highway funding. He said a slight increase in the wheel tax will happen in 2023 with all additional funding going to operate the highway department.
In other business, Stacy Sommer, Chamber director, announced the 2022 Christmas Parade theme will be “Bicentennial” in celebration of the county’s 200th anniversary.