Chesterton Tribune


Council carves out 157 acres from old TIF district to make new Urschel district

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The Chesterton Town Council has taken the next couple of steps in finalizing the financing for Urschel Laboratories’ re-location to Coffee Creek Center.

At their meeting Monday night, members first voted 4-0 to “carve out” the 157 acres which the company is purchasing at Coffee Creek Center from the original tax increment financing district; then 4-0 to declare those 157 acres a brand-new TIF district.

Member Jeff Trout, R-2nd, was not in attendance.

It’s necessary to create a new TIF district for the property because the old one—designated nearly a decade and a half ago—is due to expire in about 18 years. The financing arrangement, however, has a lifetime of 20 years and that clock will begin ticking only after the actual construction has been completed.

That business done, members then voted 4-0 to approve on first reading an ordinance authorizing the issuance of up to $25,860,000 in tax-exempt economic development bonds.

The arrangement will work like this, as the Chesterton Tribune has previously reported:

Urschel Laboratories Inc. will pay all costs associated with the project—including the acquisition of land, the construction of the facility, and the installation of infrastructure—with its own liquidity, that is, with cash which it has on hand.

Then the company will recoup a portion of its total costs—up to $25.86 million of them—through the 20-year, 85-percent break which the town is granting on real and personal property taxes which the Urschel Laboratories would normally have paid as a property owner in a tax increment financing district.

In other words, the company is not so much repaying the bonds—inasmuch as no money is actually being made over to Urschel Laboratories—as it is recouping its costs, up to $25.86 million of them.

Town Attorney Chuck Lukmann has said that the town still expects to receive an estimated $4,566,455 in property taxes over the 20 years of the arrangement.

Two public hearings have been scheduled on the “carve-out” and the new Urschel Laboratories TIF district, at 6 p.m. Monday, March 11.

New Website Contractor

In other business, and at Town Manager Bernie Doyle’s recommendation, members voted 4-0 to approve a four-year contract with Civic Plus of Houston, Texas, for the development of a new municipal website.

The total price of that contract: $30,266, or $8,622 for the first three years and $4,440 for the fourth year.

Member Emerson DeLaney, R-5th, did want a termination-for-convenience clause in the contract, under which the town may cancel the contract at any time without penalty, after paying Civic Plus for all work done to date.

Generally, though, DeLaney spoke to the importance of a solid municipal website. “As our community grows and people come here, in this day and age it’s a tool for their use,” he said.

Heritage Advisory Group

Meanwhile, members voted 4-0 to spend around $2,500 for a review of the town’s municipal health insurance coverage, to be conducted by Steve Brady of the Heritage Advisory Group.

At the council’s last meeting, Brady said that such a review could lead to the reduction of health-insurance costs.

“We expect to save at least that much money if we’re going to spend that much,” said Member Jim Ton, R-1st.

Asphalt Bids

Members also voted 4-0 to advertise for bids on this season’s asphalt supply.

Those bids will be opened at the council’s March 25 meeting.

New Dump Truck

Then, at Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg’s recommendation, members voted 4-0 to award the contract for a new dump truck to low quoter Truck City of Gary, which submitted a quote of $149,082.

Members then voted 4-0 to authorize a lease-purchase agreement for the acquisition of that dump truck.



Posted 2/26/2013