The Burns Harbor
Redevelopment Commission discussed changing how it disburses money for its
annual contribution to the Duneland Schools at its recent meeting.
RDC President Eric
Hull said the RDC is investigating the best way to contribute Tax Increment
Financing (TIF) funds and tax abatement fees to the Duneland Schools. The
RDC has contributed approximately $100,000 per year to Duneland Schools for
the past few years to make up for tax revenue the Schools donít collect due
to Burns Harborís TIF district.
Jane Jordan used to calculate the amount of the contribution based on how
much tax money was not collected for the Schoolís capital projects fund, but
a state-mandated shift in the way school funds are organized last year means
that Jordan can no longer calculate that number.
After looking into
how other Redevelopment Commissionís contribute TIF money to their local
schools, the Board is considering a process similar to a grant program,
where the RDC would get a list of projects the money could go toward before
Member Brad Enslen
said he was concerned about the RDC getting too involved in School projects.
Ron Stone, non-voting Duneland School Board representative on the RDC, was
similarly concerned that a grant program could put more work on teachers and
cause problems if certain programs are approved for funding while others
Hull said the goal
would be to make sure the TIF funds go directly to meaningful and unique
projects and donít just get lost in the budget. Hull said the RDC isnít
interested in deciding the importance of projects or micromanaging, but they
want to contribute in a way that maximizes benefits for students. RDC member
Nick Loving said the City of Hobart disburses TIF funds in a grant-like
RDC Attorney Clay
Patton said such an agreement would need official parameters about how
projects are approved for funding. No action was taken this month, but the
RDC is hoping to continue its trend of contributing to the Schools every
February and August.
CMAQ Grant Funds
Hull said a
paperwork error that caused the Federal Highway Administration to short the
Town about $649,000 from a $1.6 million Congestion Mitigation and Air
Quality Improvement (CMAQ) grant it had won for the Marquette Greenway Trail
has been corrected thanks to Karnerblue Consultant Tina Rongers. The Town
has the full amount now because Rongers followed up consistently to ask
about any freed-up funding, according to Hull.
RDC member Toni
Biancardi reported Holladay Properties is gearing up to present a completed
planned unit development (PUD) application for the Westport Development at
the February Plan Commission meeting.
Biancardi said the
RDC is now leaning toward doing one municipal building instead of two and
building it from pre-cast concrete to keep costs low and design options
open. Hull and Enslen noted pre-cast concrete can be made to look like
brick, sandstone, or other materials for a fraction of the price.
Holladayís goal is to reach 30 percent design, which gives them enough to
work with to get prices from contractors. Biancardi made a reminder that
whatís planned at the 30-percent marker isnít necessarily the final
product--itís still an exploratory phase. Biancardi also said the most
accurate information residents can get about the new development is from
whatís said at public meetings, the minutes of which are public online.
The RDC also
authorized Holladay Properties to present on its behalf in dealings with the
Town, at Pattonís recommendation. Holladay representing the Board makes
sense since the development will require a lot of collaboration between the
RDC and the Town, which share several members, Patton said.