Last summer the
Porter County Redevelopment Commission shelved the proposed TIF economic
development area in Liberty Twp. to work on a new one around the County
Regional Airport, but Thursday a township resident asked the Commission to
Tim Cole of Liberty
Twp. said he was originally opposed to having a TIF district at the hospital
for fear that the Duneland School Corporation would be precluded from
receiving new tax revenues.
“Too many questions
were inherent in the proposal, brought out by the Valparaiso TIF in the
Eastport area,” said Cole.
However, given the
cooperative spirit the County RDC has shown with the East Porter County
Schools regarding the Airport TIF area, Cole said he believes the same can
be achieved with the TIF in Liberty Twp.
confidence that a plan could be brought to the County that assured fair
distribution of captured revenue,” said Cole. “We realize changes could be
made that would be beneficial to us.”
In the declaratory
resolution for the TIF of the airport approved by the RDC members last
month, the Commission agreed for the school corporation to receive 40
percent of the new assessed values within the area. They also agreed to
establish a grant program, where schools can also capture another 15 percent
of AV if they teach programs that can be seen as promoting economic
The RDC also drew
the boundaries at the wishes of EPCSC officials so that Washington Twp.
School may benefit by building new facilities and infrastructure.
Cole, who said he
came before the Commission on his own behalf and a few of his neighbors,
said that a revision of the Liberty Twp. plan could address the local needs
of the area and provide benefits to the U.S. 6 bypass and the Meridian Road
He also asked the
RDC to allow the residents the chance to “oversee and control any TIF” that
would be given to the township and the schools.
“We prefer a plan
that benefits the unincorporated township and the Duneland Schools that
assures local distribution of revenue providing opportunity for local
funding of services that promotes good planned development,” Cole said.
The TIF plan would
help manage growth, Cole said, and suggested it work in tandem with the
proposed U.S. 6 corridor overlay study.
Cole mentioned the
newly formed Woodville Foundation, which he is a member of, gives it support
for a TIF plan.
When the Liberty
Twp. economic development plan was proposed, the boundaries included
Meridian Rd. and Calumet Ave., with CR 900 N to the north and CR 700 N to
the south, including Porter Regional Hospital and Sunset Hill Farm. From
Meridian Rd. to Ind. 149, the TIF would also follow along the U.S. 6
RDC president E.
Ric Frataccia said Cole’s request is a credit to the Commission members for
their outreach to benefit all parties. Vice-president Dave Burrus welcomed
the request and said he found Cole’s presentation “very positive and
member Ralph Ayres, who was recently elected president of the Duneland
School Board, said that there is an understanding among his colleagues on
the Commission that schools will be harmed as little as possible.
As for the Airport
TIF, the declaratory resolution and economic development plan will go in
front of the County Plan Commission at its upcoming meeting on Feb. 12. It
will be the sole item on the agenda, said RDC member and Plan Commission
Executive Director Bob Thompson.
If the planners
approve, the resolution will move on to the County Commissioners in March,
who would also have to decide to accept or deny it. If any of those boards
disapprove, it will be up to the RDC to amend the resolution and start the
Legal advisor Gregg
Sobkowski said once a declaratory resolution passes favorably with the
County Commissioners, the RDC’s next step would be to put it into a
confirmatory resolution which would require a public hearing with an
advertised tax analysis. Sobkowski estimates the earliest that could take
place would be in April.
he is “proud” of what the board has set out to do with the declaratory
resolution, working with East Porter County Schools. Frattacia is the
superintendent of Portage Twp. Schools. “What we are doing here with this
resolution is setting the stage for the future,” he said.
The first part of
the meeting included an extended welcome to new RDC members Bob Thompson and
County Councilman Jeremy Rivas, D-2nd.
executive director of the County Plan Commission office and was appointed by
County Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, to be his delegate.
Likewise, Rivas was picked by County Council President Dan Whitten, D-At
Large, to represent him.
are Frataccia, Burrus and County Council member Jim Polarek, R-4th. Polarek
was absent from the meeting Thursday.
elected by his peers to lead as president again this year with Burrus
returning as vice-president and Polarek as secretary.