Council grants Midwest Poultry abatement

By Josh Sigler


David Fenker

The Wabash County Council approved several measures at its monthly meeting Monday, March 26.

The meeting kicked off with the approval of a tax abatement for Midwest Poultry as they begin to rebuild from a fire back in the fall.

“This was a no-brainer situation,” council chairman Randy Curless said. “We have a company that has supported Wabash for many years. And, I think altogether they have 400-some employees. I believe that passing this abatement has something to do with the $25 million they are going to invest.”

Midwest Poultry Services' Hi-Grade Egg Producers location lost five henhouses and more than one million hens in a fire Monday, Oct. 2.

The blaze that destroyed Hi-Grade's oldest henhouses took at least 23 emergency response agencies several house to extinguish, but the company avoided layoffs during the insurance investigation.

Construction recently began on three new henhouses to replace the lost buildings. Two of the three will be cage-free, bringing the farm's total of cage-free facilities up to five. Each building will hold about 274,000 birds.
The third facility will hold about 540,000 birds.

Most eggs from the new houses will be sold to Kroger stores, either under the Kroger or Simple Truth brand, MPS General Manager Dan Krouse told the North Manchester News-Journal.

Krouse said solar panels will be mounted on the roofs of the cage-free buildings, which will provide up to 85 percent of their energy needs and about 1/6 of the farm's total power needs.

Superior Court Judge Amy Cornell requested the council pass ordinance 2018-85-2, creating the Wabash Superior Court Administration of Justice Fund No. 4020 and the Alternative Dispute Resolution Fund No. 2200.

“We use funds like this for odds and ends, when they need computers, desks, things like that,” Curless said. “So, that keeps it from having to come out of the county general fund. Now, they don’t have to come to us for each of these little things. It saves the county general quite a bit of money.”

The council also heard a concerning report about the jail from Sheriff Bob Land, who received his jail inspection from the state.

The lighting, lack of outside space for inmates’ recreation time, and limited segregation space for inmates were among the major concerns in the report to go along with the overcrowding issue. The sheriff’s department is currently holding 35 inmates in Miami County as of Monday, March 26, and has seen a Wabash County jail population above 90 regularly for some time.

“It’s absolutely concerning because there are absolutely no easy answers,” Curless said. “The jail report has been the same for the past several years. They make general guidelines as far as staffing and we’re normally a little low. All of those are issues that all of us know need to be addressed. The problem is none of us want to take that step to build a jail because of the cost to the county. We keep putting this off, but this year, the state passed a new tax that we would use. But, the word tax is going to raise a lot of eyebrows.”

Posted on 2018 Apr 03