Chesterton Tribune



Duneland Schools got shorted by town TIF last year; correction made

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The Chesterton Redevelopment Commissionís first draw of tax increment financing moneys was a little light this year: about $70,000 light, or better than 8 percent of the expected amount of $844,000.

The second draw in November will be a little light too, by roughly the same amount, Clerk-Treasurer Stephanie Kuziela reported at the commissionís meeting Monday night.

Itís a $140,000 ďadjustment,Ē as the Porter County Auditorís Office is calling it.

Turns out, in 2013 the Auditorís Office neglected to carve out of the commissionís two draws those funds due to the Duneland School Corporation as revenues from the new property tax which voters approved by referendum in 2012. This yearís adjustment is meant to make things even-steven for the Duneland Schools, Kuziela said.

Under state law, a new school property tax authorized by referendum is exempt from TIF capture.

The commission will still collect a total of around $1,544,000 in TIF moneys this year.

The new school property tax--at a rate of 22 cents per $100 of assessed valuation--was expected to generate around $5.6 million in additional annual revenues for the Duneland Schools. Voters approved it by a wafer-thin margin of 4,903 Yes votes to 3,940 No votes.

LED Street Lights

In other business, Street Commissioner John Schnadenberg reported that it will cost $286.10 per fixture to convert the traditional high-pressure sodium decorative street lights in the Downtown to LED.

With 101 total fixtures, that makes a final tab of $28,896.

In four years, however, the LEDs will pay for themselves in lower electricity costs, Schnadenberg said.

The only question: to install the LEDs in one shot or over time.

All at once, the commission decided, not simply because the funds are available to do so but because, as Member Sharon Darnell noted, the mottled illumination which a mixture of street lights would provide could confuse and distract motorists.

Member Jim Ton noted that energy savings are only the beginning: the Street Department will save money on bulb and ballast replacements as well the time spent in replacing them.

Re: Fiber Optic Infrastructure

Meanwhile, members voted unanimously to officially make the installation of fiber-optic conduit a TIF-eligible project.

They did so by adopting a confirmatory resolution which formally amended the economic development plan for each of the townís three TIF districts.

No one spoke in favor of the amendment at a public hearing which preceded the vote and no spoke in opposition to it.

The town will not itself be installing fiber-optic cable, only the sleeve.


Members also voted 5-0 to approve the following claims: $2,435 and $280 from DLZ; $597 from 1st American Management Company; $437.50 from Chesterton Stone & Landscape Supply; $91.55 and $38.89 from Hopkins Ace Hardware; $2,151.73 from Ralson Paving Corporation; $49,409.10 from Pavement Solutions Inc.; and $1,050 and $975 from Harris Welsh & Lukmann.


Posted 6/27/2014