The prospect of
establishing Porter County’s first tax increment finance (TIF) area in an
unincorporated area may be picking up steam as the County Redevelopment
Commission met Thursday to hear what benefits can arise from a TIF.
RDC President E.
Ric Frataccia asked the board’s financial advisor Bryan Schuch to give a
presentation on what the steps would be to create a TIF allocation area to
provide guidance for moving forward with plans for one in Liberty Twp., near
Porter Regional Hospital on U.S. 6.
“I want to make
sure we are all on the same page with this,” Frataccia told his colleagues.
boundaries as proposed start at the Ind. 149 and U.S. 6 intersection,
extending east down the U.S. 6 right-of-way. It then widens at CR 75 W for
about half a mile north and moves east to Elmwood Drive Rd. Then at Meridian
Rd. it extends to CR 900N to the north and CR 700N to the south, until it
reaches N. Calumet Ave., and then follows the U.S. 6 right-of-way to the
Jackson Twp. line at CR 200E.
The intention of
the Liberty Twp. TIF, first discussed shortly after the hospital opened in
2012, is to capture taxes from new commercial developments to be used to
improve infrastructure within the area.
determining the boundaries is the first step in establishing an allocation
area. The RDC would have to vote on a declaratory resolution to move the
plan along to the Plan Commission, which would decide if it fits their
plans. If so, the resolution would then move to the Porter County
declaratory resolution is approved, the RDC will hold a public hearing for a
confirmatory resolution for the creation of the proposed TIF area. A tax
impact study would need to be prepared to show how the estimated growth in
assessed value would affect the overlapping taxing units, Schuch said. If
personal property is included the company name must be in the resolution.
A base assessed
value will be determined once the TIF area is established. Afterwards, any
increase to assessed value over the base assessed value is then able to be
captured as tax revenue to be used within the area’s boundaries by the RDC.
The captured AV would not go to any overlapping taxing units, Schuch said.
Benefits of a TIF
allocation area include improving blighted areas, raising money to fund
large-scale infrastructure and regeneration without taking from any other
government levy, public improvements that can be undertaken without
increasing the burden of property taxes on existing taxpayers, and property
owners may see their home values rise.
Schuch said a
common misconception residents have about TIF areas is that their property
taxes will increase. Taxes are not increased by the TIF but rather are
redistributed in other ways, he said. Residential properties will not be
affected and the TIF area may lower costs because there will be better
utilities and roads, he said.
The RDC can take up
to 15 percent of the captured tax revenue and distribute it directly to
schools or work training programs that promote economic development, Schuch
Frataccia said the
County RDC has taken leadership in making sure that funds are given back to
the school as it has made it a priority in the two TIF resolutions it has
“More RDCs are
doing that more. We’re pretty proud we started it,” Frataccia.
As for the Liberty
Twp. TIF area, the redevelopment funds would help initiatives like the
Northwest Indiana Regional Plan Commission’s Greenways and Blueways plan,
improve the quality of the Salt Creek Watershed, restore wetlands, and rehab
In the audience
from Liberty Twp. were Tim Cole, Ed Gutt, and Phil and Sandy Johnson, who
are hoping the TIF can improve wells that are no longer in good shape.
Cole had presented
other ideas to the RDC earlier in March that included extending sewer and
water lines from the hospital and to put sidewalks in connecting the Liberty
Cole said some
residents would like to see controlled growth in the Township which is
mainly agricultural. He also wants to see momentum on the County’s U.S. 6
RDC member Jim
Polarek said he has spoken to Commissioner Jeff Good, R-Center, who does not
feel “enthusiastically” about TIFs at this time. However, a new member will
be joining the Board of Commissioners in January -- Jim Biggs -- who may
give more support.
Frataccia said the
RDC should talk to the Commissioner board before its January meeting when
new County officials are in to see if there is any support.
“If they say nay,
then that’s the way it is,” he said.
The RDC will meet
next in December to take care of any end-of-the-year expenses.
No show on Aukiki
The meeting agenda
included further discussion on a possible collaboration with the Porter
County Parks Department on projects at Aukiki Park.
No discussion took
place as no representative of the Parks Department showed up to the meeting.
Superintendent Walter Lenckos in March approached the Commission on the idea
that some redevelopment money could be allocated to put in acceleration and
deceleration lanes at Aukiki Park’s entrance, located about one mile north
of Kouts on Ind. 49. Lenckos said then the estimated cost was $110,000.
Although the RDC is
not using TIFs currently, it does receive funding annually from the tax
abatement agreement between the County and Porter Regional Hospital. The
hospital agreed to pay back 10 percent of the taxes abated each year, capped
at $100,000, for economic development.