NEW CARLISLE, Ind. — County leaders in St. Joseph County have approved an expansion of an economic development area near New Carlisle.
It’s the same area where a brand new General Motors EV battery plant will be built over the next few years. In a public meeting on Tuesday, the county council heard testimony from those both for and against an expansion of the economic development area.
St. Joseph County economic development director Bill Schalliol says the expansion is necessary to keep the county in the black when it comes to its end of the deal with GM and Samsung to build the EV plant.
“It’s not a land grab. We are not going to ‘work under the cover of darkness’ to go out and grab 309 properties,” Schalliol reassured residents near the area before the vote. “But, if we can not get this approved tonight and we cannot sell the bonds, then the county would be in default on our agreement (with GM).”
The expansion will add another 6,500 acres to the area for businesses to look at and see if they are interested in developing.
Steve Francis lives in New Carlisle and has followed the development from the beginning. He believes the county is feeding a line to county leaders to get the expansion.
“I think the council has been put on the spot,” Francis said. “Because they were told that if they don’t approve this they are going to imperial the battery plant. I think that is absolutely false.”
“They treat us, in New Carlisle, like we’re ignorant, and we are not,” fellow resident Jack Daly added. “I believe public servants should serve the public and not the private interest and I think that’s what’s happening here.”
The council voted 8-1 in favor of the expansion. With that, they also gave the final go-ahead for infrastructure improvements around the building site of the EV battery plant. Those include sewer upgrades and road improvements, which are required as per the contract the county signed with GM and Samsung.
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St. Joseph County Council Approves Expansion Of Economic Development Plan was originally published on wibc.com
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