Batesville Redevelopment Commission members entered into an agreement Feb. 6 with Administrative Resources association, Columbus.
Eric Frey, ARa executive director, explained, “We provide a lot of technical assistance and support to cities .... (and) we’re creating a pilot program and bringing it to Batesville to test it. It will be a little bit of a learning experience for us.
“You’re required to have notices, resolutions, etc., and we will help with correspondence and do what we can .... If you decide there is a project you want to do, we can help with that and whatever technical assistance you need .... Your point of contact with ARa will be Trena Carter.”
Mayor Rick Fledderman noted, “This will give us more transparency .... redevelopment commissions are coming under more scrutiny .... We’re required to file financial reports, and we do have about $100,000 in the TIF (tax increment financing) fund.”
President Andy Saner pointed out, “It’s important to keep track of where that money goes.”
According to the agreement, the cost for services will not exceed $50 per hour or $5,000 per year and could be renewed annually.
The fee will be paid from TIF funds, the mayor revealed.
Member Dennis Harmeyer said, “I think it’s definitely a good thing.”
Member Mike Bettice agreed, “Most of us don’t spend our days doing TIF or redevelopment stuff ... (and) we need to know we’re following the legal guidelines.”
Saner gave an update on the proposed shell building that may be constructed in the new industrial park at Lammers Pike and Merkel Road. Batesville Economic Development Commission members are trying “to determine if the shell project is viable for the city .... BRC owns or has control of that property,”
Dr. Steve Stein, a nonvoting liaison between BRC and the Batesville Community School Corp., stressed, “What we don’t want to see in our first major project (if it moves forward) .... is people going by, and it’s sitting empty. What have other counties done?”
The president reported, “Shelby County has done several of these, and it has been very successful for Shelbyville. Henry County has completed a shell property,” and others have, too. “We’ve visited each of those, and some of the key things we got back were marketing, marketing, marketing and location, location, location.
“While location is important, visibility isn’t so much because manufacturing doesn’t need it as much as retail .... We have been told with the economy making a comeback, we should plan on holding a building for up to three years.”
He added, “We sit in a good quadrant. Dearborn County is one of the fastest growing and largest economic development areas .... and there’s Honda in Greensburg. Our goal is to find a high-paying manufacturing entity, but we don’t just want hourly jobs, we want to create careers that will bring families to the community.”
Diane Raver can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 812-934-4343, Ext. 114.