Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

March 5, 2013

One more step in TIF process

Debbie Blank
The Herald-Tribune

BATESVILLE — Batesville’s proposed 398-acre Tax Increment Financing district that is north, south and east of the existing 57-acre TIF area is moving forward.

After the Batesville Redevelopment Commission, Batesville Advisory Plan Commission and Batesville City Council each approved a declaratory resolution in January and February, on Feb. 26 BRC adopted a confirmatory resolution 4-0. Members Andy Saner, Darrick Cox, Beth Meyers and Dennis Harmeyer were present and Mark Fledderman was absent.

In the document, two designated taxpayers were named, Batesville Tool and Die and Hill-Rom Holdings. If they purchase additional pieces of costly equipment, personal property taxes could be captured as well as real estate taxes, explained attorney Sue Beesley, a partner at Bingham Greenebaum Doll, Indianapolis, who is advising city officials on the process.

Before the vote, a public hearing was conducted. Three citizens attended, but only Darrell Hoyer spoke.

“Are you aware it’s going to cost money” because of borrowing expenses if BRC has a bond sale to pay for infrastructure improvements, then repays the debt with TIF revenue? Beesley noted that despite interest rates ranging from 2-8 percent, “in Indiana there have been many, many TIF bonds issued.”

She asked Mayor Rick Fledderman if he planned to do projects to better the area before development occurs.

Fledderman said there would have to be a guaranteed annual TIF amount before a bond was issued. The first project might be to improve the road just south of I-74 that leads to restaurants and a hotel. “That’s not owned by the city, it’s owned by the businesses.”

Hoyer, who was the Lebanon High School principal before retirement, was concerned how school funding would be affected by the TIF district. “The impact to the schools is substantially less due to the way schools are financed” now, the mayor pointed out. Tax impact statements were mailed to each of the taxing units (townships, counties, the Batesville library and Batesville Community School Corp.) and a public hearing notice for Feb. 26 was published in The Herald-Tribune Feb. 15, but no taxing unit representatives were there to protest the TIF proposal.

Saner, who is BRC president, told Hoyer, “We don’t think we’re doing this to the detriment of our public entities. Jennings and Decatur counties have been very successful with their TIF districts. We see this as a way to make sure that in the future we’ve got the opportunities to generate additional revenue to facilitate the infrastructure improvements.”

Fledderman added that entities that support the Tax Increment Financing area, such as the fire department, also could share TIF dollars.

According to the timeline proposed by Beesley, the council will vote on whether to approve the final resolution March 11. If it is OK’d, the resolution will be recorded by recorders in Ripley and Franklin counties and filed with county auditors and Indiana Department of Local Government Finance.

TIF PROCESS EXPLAINED

• What is the Tax Increment Financing process? An economic development area is defined, then an allocation area equal to or less than and within the original space. The base assessed value for property taxes is frozen. As development comes, the increase from the base to the new assessed value is determined. Those extra taxes that are spun off go to pay for infrastructure development in that area for the number of years designated. After the time period for the TIF district expires (25 years or less from the time debt, such as a bond, is issued), the original taxing units receive the additional taxes.