Starke County Economic Development Foundation, Inc.

Starke County Indiana Fact Sheet

The Starke County Economic Development Foundation (SCEDF) serves as the Local Economic Development Organization for all of Starke County (including its incorporated areas.) The SCEDF office is in fact a proven one stop office for all economic development activities in the County, with its primary role being that of an ombudsman for both existing and prospective businesses in the county. SCEDF will guide a prospect or a business through whatever path that is necessary to locate, grow, or otherwise assist such business. The staff of SCEDF includes two persons with over thirty (30) years of experience each in law practices representing businesses as well as a variety of municipal bodies, so they have “been there, done that.” Suffice it to say, with that experience, SCEDF builds bridges, not impediments.

Located in Northern Indiana, less than a two-hour drive to downtown Chicago, Starke County offers a rural atmosphere steeped in advanced manufacturing and logistics that lies in close proximity to several urban areas easily accessible by a good transportation system. This Fact Sheet provides you with information you can use in evaluating Starke County as the site for your business location. If there is any other information that you need, please contact Larry Wickert, Executive Director, at the address, telephone number, or email address above. We look forward to telling you more about the merits of Starke County, Indiana. Call us and we will prove what we say.

Starke County Indiana

Travel Times to Major Cities

City Time
Chicago 1:45
Cincinnati 4:00
Cleveland 5:00
Detroit 4:30
Grand Rapids 2:45
Indianapolis 2:30
Louisville 4:15
Milwaukee 3:30
Minneapolis 9:00
Nashville 7:00
South Bend 1:00
Springfield 4:30
St. Louis 6:00
Toledo 3:30
Toronto 8:30

Starke County is in the Central Time Zone.

Tax Abatement (Tax Phase-In) Program

Starke County and its municipalities offer assistance to new companies through required infrastructure improvements and tax phase-in. The infrastructure assistance is determined on a case-by-case basis. Tax phase-in (tax abatement) is reviewed by the governmental unit in which the project is to be located. If approval is granted, it can be for up to ten (10) years for both real and personal property and there are annual reporting documents that must be filed. Generally, real estate projects receive abatements of between 5–10 years, and personal property projects receive abatements of between 3–10 years. A grant of tax abatement equals about 50% of the taxes that would otherwise have been paid without abatement.

New buildings and substantial improvements to existing buildings are eligible for tax phase-in, but land does not qualify. Real property tax phase-in is a declining percentage of the increase in assessed value of the improvement based on one of the time periods shown below.

Real Estate

Real Estate

Manufacturing equipment as well as research and development equipment, logistical distribution equipment, and information technology equipment that is new to Indiana is eligible for tax phase-in treatment. Personal property tax phase-in is a declining percentage of the assessed value of the newly installed manufacturing and/or research and development equipment, logistical distribution equipment, or information technology equipment based on one of the time periods shown below.

Personal Property

Personal Property

HUBZone Program

A portion of Starke County is located in a HUBZone. This program stimulates development and creates jobs in urban and rural communities by providing Federalcontracting preferencesto small businesses located in distressed areas or HubZones. These preferences go to small businesses that obtain HubZone certification. Small business concerns (SBC’s) may apply for HubZone certification online at: www.sba.gov/hubzone/. The certification process takes a maximum of 30 days.

How Does a Business Qualify?

  • It must be a small business by Small Business Administration size standards (This definition is based on your NAICS Code)
  • Its principal office must be located within a HubZone, which includes lands on federally recognized Indian reservations;
  • It must be operated and controlled only by a U.S. citizen, Community Development Corporation or an Indian tribe; and
  • At least 35% of its employees must reside in a HubZone.

Foreign Trade Zone Certification

Starke County businesses can be Foreign Trade Zone certified within 30 days under an Alternative Site Framework.

City of Knox Revolving Loan Fund

The City of Knox maintains a small revolving loan fund that is available for certain projects approved by its City Council, which loans are secured by specified assets.

Indiana State Tax Rates

Description Rate
Corporate Income 6.00%
Individual Income 3.23%
Sales 7.00%
Indiana Gross Receipts None
Inventory None

Local Income Tax Rates

Description Rate
Local Income Tax 1.71% residents

Local Real & Property Tax Rates

Starke County Property Tax Rates for 2017, payable in 2018 are as follows:

District 2017 Tax Rate

Description Rate
California Twp - Knox Schools 2.0803
Center Township 1.9417

Knox City (Center)

Description Rate
Knox City (Center) 3.3789
Oregon Township 1.6431

North Bend Township

Description Rate
North Bend Township 1.1499
Oregon Township 1.7772

Railroad township

Description Rate
Railroad township 1.7382
Washington Township 2.0304

Wayne township

Description Rate
Wayne township 1.6544
North Judson Town (Wayne) 2.9855

Davis township

Description Rate
Davis township 1.8451
Hamlet Town - Davis Township 3.2452

Hamlet Town - Oregon township

Description Rate
Hamlet Town - Oregon township 3.2273

Cost of Doing Business

The cost of doing business in Starke County and Indiana is extremely at4tractive to companies. The chart below compares the cost of doing business in Indiana with eight surrounding Midwestern states by looking at total state business taxes in each state.

Cost of Doing Business

The State of Indiana offers several incentives in the form of tax credits, including the following:

Economic Development for a Growing Economy Tax Credit (EDGE) – provides incentive to businesses to support job creation, capital investment, and to improve the standards of living for Indiana residents. The refundable corporate income tax credit is calculated as a percentage (not to exceed 100%) of the expected increased tax withholdings generated from new jobs creation. The credit certification is phased in annually for up to 10 years based upon the employment ramp-up outlined by the business.

Headquarters Relocation Tax Credit – a tax credit available to corporations that relocate their headquarters to Indiana, which allows a credit against its state tax liability equal to half of the costs incurred in relocating the headquarters. A company must have worldwide annual revenue of at least $50 million to qualify and a minimum of 75 employees.

Hoosier Business Investment Tax Credit (HBITC) – provides incentives to support job creation, capital investment and to improve the standard of living for Indiana residents. The non-refundable corporate income tax credits are calculated as a percentage of the eligible capital investment to support the project. The credit may be certified annually, based on the phase-in of eligible capital investment, over a period of two full calendar years from the commencement of the project.

Industrial Recovery Tax Credit – provides an incentive for companies to invest in facilities requiring significant rehabilitation or remodeling expense. After a building has been designated as an industrial recovery site, companies may be eligible for a tax credit calculated as a percentage of qualified rehabilitation expense. This credit is open to occupants of or investors in industrial recovery sites consisting of a building or complex of buildings in service at least 15 years, with at least 100,000 interior square feet. As of January 1, 2017, buildings that were demolished within the 5 years preceeding an application may qualify if demolished for health and safety concerns.

Patent Income Exemption - allows certain income derived from qualified patents to be exempt from taxation. The tax exemption for patent-derived income defines qualified patents to include only utility patents and plant patents. The total amount of exemptions claimed by a taxpayer in a taxable year may not exceed $5 million. Qualified taxpayers are eligible for an exemption of 50% of patent income for each of the first five years and then the exemption decreases over the next five years to 10% in the tenth year. This benefit is available only to companies with 500 or fewer employees.

Industrial Development Grant Fund – provides money to local governments for off-site infrastructure projects associated with an expansion of an existing Indiana company or the location of a new Indiana facility. Must be matched with a combination of local government and company financial support.

Tax-Exempt Bonds – issued by state or local governmental entities for the benefit of a private company, usually manufacturers. Interest on the bonds is generally exempt from federal income taxes for investors, which typically results in lower long-term interest rates to the borrower.

Venture Capital Investment Tax Credit – established to improve access to capital to fastgrowing Indiana companies by providing individual and corporate investors an additional incentive to invest in early stage firms. Investors who provide qualified debt or equity capital to Indiana companies receive a credit against their Indiana income tax liability equal to the lesser of 20% of the qualified investment capital or $1,000,000.

Research and Development Tax Credit – Two tax incentives targeted at encouraging investments in research and development. Taxpayers may receive a credit against their Indiana state tax liability calculated as a percentage of qualified research expenses. In addition, taxpayers may be refunded sales tax paid on purchases of qualified research and development equipment. The Indiana Department of Revenue oversees these incentive programs.

Capital Access Program – a small business credit enhancement program that creates a specific cash reserve fund for the lender to use as additional collateral for loans enrolled in the Program. CAP allows lenders to consider making slightly riskier loans that might not meet conventional lending requirements.

Skills Enhancement Fund (SEF) - provides assistance to businesses to support training and upgrading skills of employees required to support new capital investment. The grant may be provided to reimburse a portion (typically 50%) of eligible training costs over a period of two full calendar years from the commencement of the project.

Additional information concerning any of the above tax credits and special programs can be found on the website of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation at www.iedc.in.gov. You may also contact Larry Wickert, Executive Director of SCEDF at 574-772-5627 or at execdir@scedf.biz or contact Matt Saltanovitz, Director of the Northwest Region of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation at 219-798-0618 or at MSaltanovitz@iedc.in.gov.

Profile of Starke County, Region, and State of Indiana

Components of Population Change Starke County Region Indiana
Net Domestic Migration -77 -2,812 -15,870
Net International 1 901 11,258
Natural Increase (births minus deaths) -14 1,845 22,810
Housing Starke County Percent Region Percent Indiana
Total Housing Units in 2015 10,985 100 % 290,760 100 % 2,820,253
Total Housing Units in 2010 10,962 100 % 289,219 100 % 2,795,541
Owner Occupied 7,174 65.4 % 190,186 65.8 % 1,747,975
Renter Occupied 1,864 17.0 % 69,107 23.9 % 754,179
Vacant 1,924 17.6 % 29,626 10.2 % 293,387
Education Starke County Percent Region Percent Indiana
School Enrollment (Total) 3,658 0.3 % 113,484 10.2 % 1,108,151
Public 3,565 0.3 % 105,545 10.1 % 1,046,058
Private 93 0.1 % 7,939 12.8 % 62,093
Population Over Time Starke County Percent Region Percent Indiana
Yesterday (2010 Census) 23,363 0.36 % 680,869 10.5 % 6,483,797
Today (2015 Estimate) 22,958 0.35 % 683,502 10.3 % 6,619,680
Tomorrow (2020 Projection) 23,102 0.34 % 705,067 10.3 % 6,852,121
Residential Building Permits Starke County Percent Region Indiana Region
Total Permits Filed 49 100 % 1,249 100 % 18,713
Single Family 49 100 % 955 76.5 % 18,713
2-Family 0 0 % 30 2.4 % 572
3- and 4- Family 0 0 % 4 0.3 % 163
5+ Family 0 0 % 260 20.8 % 3,910

Education

Starke County is home to three K-12 public school corporations and a portion of its population also attends a fourth school corporation headquartered in a neighboring county. There is a private K-8 school in North Judson and The Culver Academies are located a few miles away in Culver.

Education Starke County Percent Region Percent
Honors Graduates 58 21.6 % 2,404 31.5 %
Core 40 Graduates 152 56.7 % 4,291 56.2 %
General Graduates 58 21.6 % 936 12.3 %
TOTAL 268   7,631  
Going on to College 133 49.6 % 5,757 75.4 %
Not Going on to College 135 50.4 % 2,774 36.4 %

Workforce

The Starke County Labor Force has been quite steady over the past year despite very high unemployment rates during that same time period of time. Chart 1 below shows the total available labor force over the past 12 months, along with the numbers of employed and unemployed workers. Chart 2 below shows the unemployment rates in the County for each of the last five years by month. Chart 3 below depicts the average annual unemployment rates in Starke County and compares those rates with the State of Indiana and the United States.

Employment by Industry Starke County Percent Region Percent Indiana
Total by place of work 7,016 100 % 355,287 100 % 3,808,403
Wage and Salary 4,954 70.6 % 287,875 81.0 % 3,105,074
Farm Proprietors 438 6.2 % 4,416 1.2 % 50,679
NonFarm Proprietors 1,624 23.1 % 62,996 17.7 % 652,650
Farm 499 7.1 % 5,634 1.6 % 61,122
NonFarm 6,517 92.9 % 349,653 98.4 % 3,747,281
Private 5,420 77.3 % 312,662 88.0% % 3,304,106
Government 1,097 15.6 % 36,991 10.4 % 443,115

Region includes the Indiana Counties of Fulton, Jasper, La Porte, Marshall, Porter, Pulaski, and St. Joseph.

Starke County exports more labor than it imports. As a result of lost time on the road and the higher cost of driving, most of those Starke County residents employed outside the County are seeking in-County employment.

Resources-Demographics

Starke County has experienced steady, moderate growth since the 1950 Census, with only a slight decrease in the 2010 Census figures. Chart 2 below shows a comparison based on 2010 Census Data of the different age groups found both in Starke County and the 7-County Region that adjoins Starke County, which would include the Indiana Counties of Fulton,Jasper, LaPorte,Marshall, Porter, Pulaski, and St. Joseph.

City of Knox Water and Sewer

Gallons of Usage per month Water Sewer
First 5,000 $4.41 $7.83
Next 5,000 $4.03 $7.69
Next 5,000 $3.56 $6.64
Next 5,000 $3.10 $5.69
Next 5,000 $2.63 n/a
Next 20,000 n/a $4.87
Over 25,000 $2.25 n/a
Size of Meter Gallons Allowed Water Sewer
5/8" - 3/4" 4,872 $16.65 $38.09
1" 5,000 $27.10 $30.10
1-1/2" 8,212 $40.35 $62.93
2" 12,603 $69.80 $93.67
3" 23,750 $108.40 $156.25
4" 71,524 $193.45 n/a
6" 157,381 $368.50 n/a

Sprinkler System Connection Fees

Size of Connection Charge
2" $6.40
3" $9.65
4" $13.90
6" $36.60
8" $67.40
10" $102.70

Sprinkler System/Fire Protection

Size of Connection Charge
2" $6.40
3" $9.65
4" $13.90
6" $36.60
8" $67.40
10" $102.70

Public Fire Protection Charge

Meter Size Charge
5/8" - 3/4" $2.40
1" $6.00
1 1/2" $12.00
2" $19.20
3" $36.00
4" $60.00
6" $120.00

Private Hydrant Rental Charge is $31.05 per month.

Water System Connection Charge

Size of Connection Charge
Residential up to and including 1" connection $700.00 plus cost of meter (City furnishes meter and completes tap)
Commercial up to and including 2" connection $700.00 plus cost of meter and tap fee
Commercial over 2" and up to 6" connection $1,240.00 plus cost of meter and tap fee
Commercial over 6" connection $1,855.00 plus cost of meter and tap fee

Notes: Charges shown above are per 1,000 gallons. Sewage rates are based on the quantity of water used as the rates and charges are measured by the water meter then in use.For further information regarding rates and charges, contact Larry Wickert at 574-772-5627 or at execdir@scedf.biz.

Town of North Judson Water and Sewer

Gallons of Usage per month Water
First 5,000 5.05
Next 5,000 4.55
Next 5,000 3.70
Next 10,000 2.95
Next 25,000 2.45
Over 50,000 2.10
Gallons of Usage per month Sewer
First 3,200 12.05
Next 6,800 8.70
Next 10,000 7.25
Next 20,000 5.40
Next 60,000 4.65
Over 100,000 4.15
Size of Meter Water Sewer
5/8" 16.75 38.55
3/4" 27.95 38.55
1" 55.45 54.25
1-1/2" 97.00 75.90
2" 152.25 133.65
3" 207.55 196.65
4" 414.95 300.40
6" 839.80 438.80

Fire Sprinkler Connections (Per Annum)

Description Water
2" Connection 69.35
3" Connection 155.75
4" Connection 276.65
5" Connection 432.30
6" Connection 622.45
8" Connection 1,106.65
10" Connection 1,729.00

Notes: Charges shown above are per 1,000 gallons. Sewage rates are based on the quantity of water used as the rates and charges are measured by the water meter then in use.

For further information regarding rates and charges, contact Larry Wickert at 574-772-5627 or at execdir@scedf.biz.

Town of Hamlet Water and Sewer

Gallons of Usage per month Water
First 5,000 5.43
Next 5,000 2.79
Next 5,000 2.41
OVer 15,000 2.17
Gallons of Usage per month Sewer
First 5,000 9.45
Next 10,000 9.01
Next 15,000 8.13
Next 20,000 7.10
Next 25,000 6.6
Next 50,000 5.46
Over 125,000 4.39
Gallons of Usage per month Water Sewer
5/8" - 3/4" 21.72 28.65
1" 40.00 68.00
1-1/2" 62.14 153.75
2" 88.67 261.40
3" 132.24 429.30
4" 194.12 715.55
6" 348.81 1,431.05
8" n/a 2,289.70
10" n/a 3,291.40
12" n/a n/a

WATER AND SEWER SYSTEMS DEVELOPMENT CHARGE – a customer is required to pay a system development charge to be used primarily to offset the cost of future extensions, modifications, and improvements, as follows:

Gallons of Usage per month Water Sewer
5/8" 412 500
3/4" 618 700
1" 1,030 1,250
1-1/4" 1,648 2,000
1-1/2" 2,060 2,900
2" 3,296 5,000
3" 6,180 11,500
4" 10,300 20,000
6" 20,600 45,500
8" 32,960 81,050
10" 47,380 126,500
12" 88,580 182,300

Fire Sprinkler Connections (Per Annum)

Description Water
4" Connection 88.40
6" Connection 197.20
8" Connection 352.24
10" Connection 549.44

Notes: Charges shown above are per 1,000 gallons. Sewage rates are based on the quantity of water used as the rates and charges are measured by the water meter then in use.

A water tap charge is also collected from each customer in the amount of the greater of $300 or the actual cost of the needed meter, but in no event less than $300.

The customer is required to purchase any meter used, in addition to all other noted charges.

For further information regarding rates and charges, contact Larry Wickert, at 574-772-5627 or at execdir@scedf.biz.

All municipal sewer and water utilities have excess capacities.

Starke County

Description Contact
County Commissioners: Don Binkley (President), Kathy Norem, Charles Chesak
County Council: Freddie Baker (President), David Pearman, Bryan Cavender, Robert sims, Nancy Dembowski, Pam Stalvaum, Brad Hazelton
Auditor: Kay Chaffins (574-772-9101)
Assessor: Mcihelle Snowden (574-772-9107)
Treasurer: Kasey Clark (574-772-9111)
Zoning/Building: Terry Stephenson (574-772-9133)

City of Knox

Description Contact
Mayor: Dennis Estok (574-772-4553)
Clerk-Treasurer: Jeff Houseton (574-772-3032)
Common Council: Donald Kring (President), Bertha Blue, Tim Manns, Jeff Berg, Ron Parker
Zoning Administrator: Kenny Pfost (574-772-5445)

Town of North Judson

Description Contact
Town Council: Weny J. Hoppe (President), Jane Ellen Felchuck, Nathan F. Bradley, Josh Brown, John Rowe
Clerk-Treasurer: Andrew Rowe (574-772-5445)
Street/Utilities Superintendent: Marshall Horstmann

Town of Hamlet

Description Contact
Town Council: Dave Kesvormas (President), Brian Earnest, Connie Bailey
Clerk-Treasurer: Kristina Pitts (574-867-3541)
Street/Utilities Superintendent: Fred Row

Air Services: Starke County is the home of the Starke County Airport (OXI), located about 3 miles northwest of the City of Knox. One asphalt runway (R-W 18-36) is 4,400 x 75 feet and an FAA-funded environmental study has commened as a prelude to extending that runway to 5,000 feet. There is also one turf runway (R-W 9-27) which is 3,085 x 145 feet. The Airport maintains 30 T-hangers as well as a main hanger, and has self-service high octane gasoline pumps making gas available to credit card users at any time of day or night at affordable prices. Jet fuel service is also available. Air freight carriers frequently pick up and deliver freight at the airpot. Th etelephone number for the airport is 574-772-5001.

South Bend International Airport is located approximately 45 miles northeast of Knox (50 minutes drive time) and has 5 major airlines that fly to and from the airport daily. The runway lengths available there are 8,412 x 150 feet, 4,300 x 75 feet, and 7,100 x 150 feet. The airport also has cargo service. The airport also hosts a Foreign Trade Zone which , in November of 2010, was approved for an Alternative Site Framework which includes Starke County within its service area, thereby greatly shortening the time needed to increase the size of the current zone, or establish a new one. The airport also has a cargo service. The telephone number for the airport is 574-233-2185.

Both O'Hare International Airport (ORD) and Midway International Airport (MDW) are lcoated within a two hour and fifteen minute drive from Starke County, and Fort Wayne International (FWA), Indianapolis International (IND) and Gary/Chicago International (GYY) are all located between an hour and fifteen minutes up to two hours and fifteen minutes drive from Starke County.

Rail Services: Starke County is served by three railroads including Norfolk Southern, Chicago, Ft. Wayne & Eastern (runs on tracks owned by CSX Transportation), and the Chesapeake & Indiana Railroad. The South Shore Railroad offers passenger service between South Bend and Chicago with several stops within an hour of Starke County.

Ports: The Port of Indiana at Burns Harbor contains approximately 600 acrews along Lake Michgian and is lcoated about one hour from STarke County, easily accessible by several highways. he Port also hosts a Foreign Trade Zone which, in November of 2010, was approved for an Alternative Site Framework which includes Starke County within its service area thereby ggreatly shortening the time needed to increase the size of teh current zone, or establish a new one.

Port Features:
  • London Metal Exchange approved facility
  • Foreign-Trade Zone
  • 28-foot navigable depth

Port Facilities:
  • 125,00 tons of liquid storage capacity
  • 90,000 sq. ft. inside storage in 4 sheds
  • 330,000 sq. ft. general cargo storage in 4 sheds
  • Climate controlled storage area
  • 55 acres paved lay-down storage area
  • 5,550 feet of berthing areas
  • 7 cranes (175-ton capacity)
  • Ro-Ro dock
  • 85 acres available for industrial development

Premier Locatiosn:
  • 18 nautical miles from Chicago
  • 30 miles from Chicago by land
  • 1 day's drive from 70% of U.S. market
  • Southern-most port on Short Shipping route with Canada and Duluth

Highways: Starke County is served by U.S. 30 (4-lane limited access freeway), U.S. 35, and U.S. 421, along with State Roads 8, 10, 23, and 39. The County enjoys easy connections with the I-80/I-90 Toll Road, I-65, I-94, and I-69.