At a special
meeting earlier this month, the Chesterton Redevelopment Commission voted to
formally notify other taxing units that in 2019 the total cost of planned
projects plus the sum of already encumbered funds--typically bond
payments--will equal or exceed this year’s tax increment financing revenues.
In short: there
will be a need to “capture” all of this year’s TIF revenues and that the
commission will be unable to share any of those moneys with the other taxing
units, among them the Duneland School Corporation and the Westchester Public
At the commission’s
regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Associate Town Attorney Julie Paulson
offered a somewhat more granular accounting of those moneys, in a
statutorily required presentation to all impacted taxing units.
In fact, only the
WPL was represented at that meeting, in the person of Director Lisa Stamm;
and the Duneland School Corporation, in the person of School Board
Member--and non-voting Redevelopment Commission member--John Marshall.
According to a
five-year projection (2019-23), TIF revenues are expected annually to total
approximately $1.95 million. Subtract from that figure annual debt service
of between $450,000 and $459,000--and subtract as well $100,000 in annual
professional fees--and the amount left actually to spend on the
Redevelopment Commission’s capital improvement plan is something on the
order of $1.4 million.
More: in each of
the next four years, 2020-23, TIF expenditures are projected annually to
total at least $2,530,944, far in excess of the $1.95 million annual reveues.
Which would mean--again--that the Redevelopment Commission would be
“capturing” all of those revenues from the other taxing units.
And yet this year,
expenditures on the capital improvement plan are anticipated at the moment
to total only $320,388, which would leave--after deducting debt service of
$450,756--a balance at the end of the year of $1,079,035.
Duneland School Board Member Marshall to wonder just how big a cash balance
the Redevelopment Commission typically has at year’s end, all the more so
because several of the items included on the capital improvement
plan--notably the Dickinson Road extension and the proposed railroad quiet
zone project--are either dormant or in a very preliminary stage. “Are these
projects you’re going to undertake or might undertake?”
that the various projects on the capital improvement plan have all been
specced out and their expense averaged over five years. But she added that
the “Chesterton Redevelopment Commission obviously won’t pursue projects it
doesn’t have revenues for.”
Paulson noted too
that some of the projects in the capital improvement plan do in fact
support, for example, the Duneland School Corporation, most specifically the
fiber optic network. “We are certainly benefitting those other taxing units,
although they are not getting the (TIF) dollars,” she said.
accordingly asked whether Paulson might be able to make available to him
further information about year-end cash balances, and how much money
historically is rolling over into the next year’s coffers. “I want to know
how much the commission is taking in but not spending,” he told the
Chesterton Tribune after the meeting.
Paulson said that
she would provide Marshall with that information.
Member Jeff Trout
was quick to note that it’s not a bad thing to have cash surpluses in the
TIF accounts. It was just such a surplus which made it possible for the
Redevelopment Commission to provide the “creative financing” which brought
Urschel Laboratories Inc. and its 400 jobs to Coffee Creek Center. “You
don’t know what’s going to come up,” Trout said. “We need to be prepared and
that means having a cash balance. A little money in the bank is nice to
Town Engineer Mark
O’Dell, for his part, added that the recent replacement of the East Porter
Ave. bridge over Sand Creek is an example of the sort of project that “just
comes up” and genuinely needs to be funded.
Re: Angled Parking
In other business,
Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg presented to members a plan previously
broached before the Town Council to replace parallel parking in the 100 and
300 blocks of West Indiana Ave. with angled parking, as part of a proposal
to widen the sidewalk in the 200 block of Broadway.
Angling parking in
those two blocks of West Indiana Ave. would add a net total of 13 parking
spaces in the Downtown, after the angled parking in the 200 block of
Broadway is replaced with parallel parking.
remarked that years ago, when St. Patrick Church was located in what is now
a Westchester Public Library parking lot--at the northwest corner of the
intersection of Third Street and West Indiana Ave.--there was angled
parking along West Indiana Ave. “I’m not sure how it ended up being
parallel,” Schnadenberg said.
DeLaney did want to know why the plan doesn’t include angling parking in the
200 block of West Indiana Ave., in front of the Westchester Public Library.
Engineer Mark O’Dell said, “It works the way it is.” As it stands, there’s a
great deal of very brief double-parking in front of the library, as folks
pick up and drop off there. “And it’s very busy, with lots of families and
kids in and out.”
liked the plan and asked Schnadenberg to provide an estimate of the cost of
the work, which would involve milling, re-paving, and striping. Ballparking
it, Schnadenberg guessed the project would cost between $50,000 and $60,000,
but said that he would have a better number at the commission’s next
that it would be nice to use TIF moneys for the project, to free up more
funds for other projects in the $1.8-million general obligation bond issued
last year for infrastructure work.
“I think it’s a
worthwhile project to pursue,” Member Nick Walding remarked.