Porter County took
a major step to implementing its first ever tax increment finance (TIF)
district Tuesday with a 3-0 vote from the Board of Commissioners approving
the declaratory resolution.
This clears the way
for the County Redevelopment Commission to begin work on a confirmatory
resolution to establish a redevelopment area around the Porter County
RDC member and Plan
Commission Executive Director Robert Thompson said the area would extend
from the airport to the city limits of Valparaiso on its west border and to
CR 450E on its eastern boundary. The south border contains the Porter County
Expo Center and Fairgrounds and its north boarder would stretch to Ind. 2
near Washington Twp. School.
The total size is
about 3,600 acres or six square miles.
Thompson said the
Plan Commission approved the declaratory resolution last month to check its
compatibility with surrounding land zoning. RDCs can only collect tax
revenues on commercial properties.
Blaney, D-South, said it is also important for officials to note that it
will only be collecting new tax funds and that it will not be taking away
any existing funds.
She also inquired
how long the TIF will last according to the resolution.
for the RDC Dan Botich said it will sunset in 25 years after the first
redevelopment bond is issued. That is a typical length for TIF areas, he
Botich and Thompson
said that officials from East Porter County Schools have been working
closely with the RDC in the development of the Airport TIF and have agreed
on passing 40 percent of collected revenue on to the school and other
overlapping taxing units, which is part of the resolution. The remaining 60
percent will be used by the RDC in the redevelopment area.
Botich said the RDC
was hoping that the 60/40 deal could be used as a model for future TIF
President John Evans, R-North, said it was stated by the Commissioners when
they established the RDC in 2012 that no harm should fall on school
districts. The Commissioners have appointed Ralph Ayres of the Duneland
School Board to serve in an advisory role, he said.
RDC member and
chair E. Ric Frataccia is also a school official, Evans added.
A public hearing
was held on the resolution, which saw one supporter. Valparaiso resident Joe
Kusiak asked the Commissioners to consider new state laws that support the
employment of veterans given that the area looks to bring economic
development. Evans told Kusiak it’s the goal of the Commissioners to keep
veterans employed as best they can.
Voting in favor of
the resolution were Evans, Blaney, and Commissioner Nancy Adams, R-Center.
Thompson said the
RDC has scheduled a public hearing for the confirmatory resolution on April
17 at 6 p.m. in the Commissioners’ Chambers. If approved, it would move on
to the Plan Commission.
Evans told Thompson
that once the Airport TIF is “out of the way, let’s go back to revising the
Plans for a TIF
district around the hospital were conceived before the Airport version was
proposed, but have been shelved. Liberty Twp. resident Tim Cole appeared
before the RDC last month requesting they reconsider the hospital TIF,
saying he believes it could bring orderly growth to the U.S. 6 corridor.
Commissioners heard a presentation from Heather Harrigan, executive director
of Empower Porter County which is dedicated to aiding those with substance
Harrigan said the
organization found its feet last year with the support of the County
Commissioners. It is a single organization that is a coalition of
healthcare, law enforcement, government, education, faith-based and family
groups and meets bimonthly.
County launched its Around the Table initiative in February. It aims to
educate the public through the media on the importance of families eating
meals together, since studies show members of those families are less likely
to fall into substance abuse, Harrigan said.
about how families can talk with each other will be on the organization’s