Make My Move has extended 5 more offers

Make My Move has delivered a mover to Wayne County.

Valerie Shaffer, president of the Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County, told the county commissioners Dec. 14 that the first mover has bought a home in Wayne County. Make My Move offers relocating remote workers incentives to choose Wayne County.

Shaffer said five more offers have been extended and the county is waiting to hear back from those workers. The goal is to have 20 remote workers soon call Wayne County home.

The local enticement package includes $5,000 plus a variety of other benefits. Each worker receives $2,500 up front and another $2,500 after remaining a year. The first worker selected an arts package of benefits, Shaffer said.

“I’m excited success is coming,” Commissioner Mary Anne Butters said.

Shaffer told commissioners that other Indiana communities have enticed more relocations; however, each county sets its own qualifications for approving potential movers. Some communities approve anyone who applies, Shaffer said, but Wayne County ensures the potential mover aligns with the county program’s objectives before extending an offer.

Wayne County chooses to focus on remote workers who are already employed.

Shaffer also presented to commissioners an EDIT grant for Taconic Biosciences. Taconic is investing $6.5 million that will result in 18 new employees, 12 of whom have already been hired.

Commissioners unanimously approved the grant.

Opioid settlements

Wayne County has received its 2022 installment from Indiana’s share of a national opioid settlement. The county received about $411,000.

Through 2038, the county is scheduled to receive nearly $2 million from payments made by Johnson & Johnson, AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson. Indiana is receiving $507 million from the $26 billion national settlement.

Wayne County will also receive a share of Indiana’s new $278 million settlements with CVS, Walgreens and Walmart. Payments from those settlements could begin late in 2023, with Walmart paying most of its amount the first year, CVS paying through 10 years and Walgreens paying through 15 years.

Public and private groups are invited to apply for funding from Wayne County’s opioid settlement share. Application information is available from a link on the county website,

Heartland contract

Commissioners unanimously approved a $680,000, two-year contract with Heartland Community Services Foundation to provide the Wayne County Health Department with contract workers.

The workers perform tasks funded by grants the department receives. Heartland charges the county each worker’s hourly rate, plus a 30% markup.

Commissioners asked multiple questions about the arrangement, because Christopher Simons, the health department’s director of clinical services, is president of Heartland. Ron Cross, the county’s attorney, said that does not violate any conflict of interest law, and Christine Stinson, executive director of the health department, said Simons does not perform Heartland tasks during his health department time.

Some responsibilities do overlap, however, as he manages day-to-day health department functions.

With contract employees, the county does not pay indirect employment costs, such as health benefits, mandatory withholdings and retirement.

“I would be happy to make all of these county employees,” Stinson said.

Zoning ordinance

No members of the public spoke during a public hearing for an amended zoning ordinance.

The amendments provide clarifications, definitions and updates to the county’s zoning policies and procedures.

Laura Miller, the county’s director of planning and zoning, went through the ordinance page by page with commissioners.

The longest discussion addressed in-home enterprises. The zoning is designed to keep residential areas looking residential, rather than having customers visiting a business. Butters supported the ordinance including in-home retail operations rather than just services.

That as well as front-yard setbacks for irregular lots, the number of family members permitted to participate in an in-home enterprise, permitted uses of electronic signs and rules for a property’s accessory dwelling units are being altered from the proposed ordinance. Those changes will return to the plan commission during its Jan. 19 meeting.

Bridge projects

Brandon Sanders, the county engineer, asked commissioners to act on several bridge projects.

Completed plans for projects at Bridge 307 on Gravel Pit Road and Bridge 251 on Fountain City Pike were unanimously approved, moving the projects forward. Commissioners also are allowing an on-call agreement with USI Consultants for any necessary inspection assistance on the Gravel Pit Road bridge. The agreement will only have a cost if USI is used to assist local inspectors.

Butler Fairman & Seufert of Westfield was selected as the design consultant for Bridge 511 on Mulberry Street in Cambridge City. Commissioners approved the $291,904 contract to design the project, which is receiving federal funds.

Share this:

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.