GREENFIELD – Greenfield city council members approved the proposed 2024 fiscal budget on first reading this week. The budget is expected to be passed on final reading next month.
Councilman George Plisinski said next year’s city budget is higher than this year’s due to some necessary modifications to city services, including the addition of a third ambulance for the Greenfield Fire Territory at the start of the year.
A few one-time line items were also added to the parks department’s budget, covering the cost to pave the parking lot at Thornwood Nature Preserve, replace the pool lining at the Kathy Dowling Aquatic Center and make necessary updates to the parks maintenance building due to it being in a flood plain.
The council also unanimously passed on first reading the 2024 salary ordinance, which includes a proposed $2,000 raise for each city employee, following a $3,000 raise per employee in 2023.
The council also passed final approval to extend the city’s boundaries to the west, annexing a 19.8-acre plot of land the city purchased on the south side of U.S. 40 in May.
The land, which sits just east of the Community Foundation of Hancock County office at 971 West U.S. 40, will be used to create a water treatment plant to serve the city’s growing population.
The council also approved increasing the max levy for both the City of Greenfield and the Greenfield Fire Territory, making room for the added expense of serving a growing number of residents.
On that note, the council unanimously passed on first reading an ordinance to amend the city’s zoning code for the planned development of a new residential neighborhood called Parkwood, which will be developed on about 37 acres in the northeast corner of South Franklin Street and West Davis Road.
A public hearing on that ordinance will take place at the next council meeting Oct. 11.
The council also passed a tax abatement for Shear Property Group, which plans to build a 543,000-square-foot building costing $32.6 million. The new facility is predicted to employ 154 people by the end of 2025, generating over $7.1 million in annual salaries.
The ordinance stated the benefits to be derived from the project justify the abatement, which in turn should expand the property base and raise property values in the city.
A hearing on a second tax abatement ordinance — for a project known only as “Project Huskies” due to confidentiality in ongoing discussions with the city — was tabled until the Oct. 11 council meeting. Plisinski said details of the project are expected to be made public at that time.