The Burns Harbor
Redevelopment Commission wants to know if it can balance its ability to bond
for projects while leaving some bonding power to the town in case it is ever
Marcus Rogala said he received information from the Town’s financial advisor
Umbaugh & Associates just hours before Wednesday’s Commission meeting. Matt
Eckerle, principal with Umbaugh, said the Town’s bonding limit is $3.7
million on a term of 15 years.
Rogala brought up
the idea of bonding at the RDC’s June meeting to move forward with
constructing three important components of the new downtown area -- a
crosswalk on Ind. 149, the plaza development of the four-acre site at
Westport Rd. and Haglund Rd. and a walkway on Haglund that would connect
with other parts of town.
Tina Rongers, a
consultant for the RDC, said not all the $3.7 million would be available
because of soft costs. The actual figure would be closer to $3 million, she
Eckerle said the
bond would be payable from the revenue collected annually from the tax
increment finance district and would carry a property tax backup to help
with the marketing of the bonds.
RDC members Erik
Hull and Toni Biancardi said they would like to know what the impact would
be on other projects if the Commission bonds for the three projects Rogala
mentioned. Hull said there is some money needed for the Town’s portion of
the Marquette Greenway Trail.
“What I want to
know is how will this impact the Town’s ability to bond,” Hull said.
Rogala said he
figures the Commission wouldn’t have to bond for the full $3.7 million.
Initial estimates from Global Engineering indicate that roughly $2 million
will be needed for the downtown development. The crosswalk and the plaza
would add up to about $1.5 million and the walkway on Haglund may be about
Hull and Biancardi
said what they would like to see before moving forward are more
comprehensive reports from Global Engineering telling what the specific
costs would be for each item and then have Umbaugh & Associates determine
the impacts in bonding scenarios.
“I would like to
see it all laid out,” said Bianacardi.
“I agree. It’s a
big step,” said Hull.
Rogala said he will
ask representatives from Global to be at next month’s meeting to present the
Rongers said that
with a debt limit, she believes there would be an impact to fund other
projects if the decision is to bond. “Whatever you fund up front you are
sacrificing future opportunities so there is a little bit of a balancing
act,” she said.
Rongers said there
are grant opportunities mentioned by Global Engineering that could be
pursued to help fund the projects, allowing less reliance on a bond.
Food Truck Square
In other business,
Rogala reported the Food Truck Square is off to a good start this season.
Many elected officials, business representatives and residents attended the
Better Burns Harbor Night on Wednesday, June 28 where the RDC discussed
their vision for the future.
With revenue coming
in from the vendors, the RDC gave Rogala consensus to purchase equipment for
speakers at the square to play music. Rogala said he also would like to get
a wooden fence structure for the enclosed area for events when there is
The RDC received
correspondence from the Duneland School Corporation reporting on what it has
done with the TIF funds its received through the Burns Harbor RDC.
Superintendent Dave Pruis in a letter said the Corporation has provided
technical education and training programs and expanded course offerings in
the advancement of career pathways to prepare students for future work.
Two programs were
implemented in the 2016-2017 school year. Project Lead the Way which
consists of biomedical sciences and concepts with engineering principles in
the curriculum. The second program is The Leader in Me, designed to empower
students with skills for success in today’s economy.
Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) activities have been expanded,
particularly for students in grades 3 and 4, Pruis reported.
“That’s where our
money is going to,” Rogala said.
Rongers said SEH
Inc. is continuing its preliminary design and environmental due diligence on
the Marquette Greenway. There is initial coordination with Town of Porter
and City of Portage to create interlocal agreements to develop the segments
of the Trail.
A quarterly meeting
will take place at the Northwest Indiana Regional Plan Commission building
on July 25.
Also, the RDC voted
4-0 in favor of paying $125 in yearly dues to the Redevelopment Association