Winamac Looks to Tap Into State Transportation Funding

 The Town of Winamac is hoping to take advantage of some new road funding sources recently offered by the state of Indiana. It’s releasing $435 million in Local Option Income Tax funds to local governments to use for transportation projects.

During a special session of the Winamac Town Council Thursday, Clerk-Treasurer Melanie Berger announced that the town’s share of that money was just under $200,000. However, the town has the option to make that money go even further, with a new 50-50 matching grant program run by the Indiana Department of Transportation and the Local Technical Assistance Program.

Eric Walsh with accounting firm Umbaugh and Associates told the council it’s a good opportunity. “When the statute was originally written, this was originally decided, they had it capped at $500,000,” he said. “They’ve already in a week extended that to a million. Basically, INDOT has said, ‘We want to get rid of money,’ so if you fill out the application correctly and cross all the T’s, there’s probably a good chance you’re going to get some money.”

However, as one of the conditions to getting that grant funding, the town would first need to have an asset management plan. Town Manager Brad Zellers said he’s already been in contact with a representative of Fleis & VandenBrink Engineering to put that plan together, “What that plan is, is all of our roads – widths, lengths, what shape they’re in, what the materials are, whether they’re gravel, whether they’re chip and seal, whether they’re asphalt, when they were worked on last – this all has to be pulled in. They seem to think within a couple weeks, they could get that done for us, and we would be ready by May 31 to be able to get this.”

Council President Kenneth McFarland was concerned that the town might be legally required to get additional bids for work. Zellers pointed out that if it’s able to move forward, Winamac would be one of the first communities to complete such a plan.

He added that the town could really use the extra money, “We could get a leaf vac. We could get some streets done that truly need done. We’ve got a couple roads we need to actually pave.”

The council unanimously approved the contract with Fleis & VandenBrink for a cost not to exceed $13,000.