The expansion of Batesville’s proposed Tax Increment Financing district by 398 acres north, south and east of the existing 57-acre area and how it will affect the Batesville Community School Corp. were discussed March 18.
“TIF is a relatively new tool for the city of Batesville,” Mayor Rick Fledderman told BCSC trustees. “We put two TIFs in place in the last four or five years and have received revenue of about $22,000.
“We had a tax impact statement done .... (and) it revealed there would be no impact on the taxing units. It will benefit the schools if we create jobs because jobs create more enrollment for the schools and increased tax revenues. The tax dollars you’re getting will stay, but taxes from any future developments will be captured by the TIF.
“If the assessed value goes up, you will benefit from that .... We’re using this as a tool to attract businesses, and our goal it to make Batesville a better community. Our hope is to (use the revenue collected) to make improvements, not only with infrastructure, but aesthetically. (The monies) can be used to help the police and fire departments, and if there is something the school wants that would be serving the greater good of the community, we can possibly help you, too.”
The mayor noted, “I have been in conversation with superintendent (Dr. Jim) Roberts” about the process.
Roberts pointed out, “When TIF was proposed years ago, we were very concerned about our General Fund. At one point, 50 percent of it came from property taxes.” With funding changes in the state Legislature, that’s no longer the case. However, “it would still affect the Capital Projects Fund, as we move forward with technology and other projects.”
Jim Dreyer urged board members to think hard about what a TIF district would mean to the school system. “I don’t want anything to take away from our education system.” He spoke against having one in what he called “the already developed areas” of the city, where he believes it is not necessary to support development or redevelopment.
“I am in favor of economic development in Batesville ... At the industrial park, it makes sense because it (the revenue) is going to an area that needs developed .... The other areas already have the infrastructure in place. If there’s improvements that need to be made, the city should pay for it.”
“I don’t think the public really knows or understands what the consequences of a TIF district are .... I have no ax to grind against the whole project. I just don’t want to see the schools lose money in an area that’s pretty well developed.”
Board President Chris Lowery commented, “I would argue that if I’m a business, and I need infrastructure,” getting revenue from a TIF district would be a plus.
Fledderman added, “We have no intention of hurting the schools. We’re not taking anything away from them. We need it for economic development. We’re trying to find another tool to do some things to improve our community.”
Lowery added, “Anyone who’s talking on this topic is in support of the schools .... We’re fortunate in this community to have some good partnerships. It’s all interconnected. No school system is going to thrive without a good community or businesses.”
• Roberts said four Batesville High School students are piloting a program in conjunction with Ivy Tech Community College where they would get a Core 40 Honors Diploma and the majority of credits needed for an associate degree in design technology after taking four semesters of credit. They would also be eligible for an internship and have the opportunity to transition into the work force.
• The superintendent said enrichment and/or remediation programs are being offered in each school building during the March 18-22 intersession. With 56 students involved in enrichment activities and 208 in remediation, “we’re pretty happy with that participation,” he revealed.
• Personnel decisions were approved. Certified – new: Laura Hicks, Batesville Primary School enrichment intersession teacher; Michael McKinney, BPS remediation intersession teacher; Randi Stirn, BHS homebound special education teacher; Deidre Laker, BHS English intersession teacher; Matt Maple, BHS 365 academic adviser (counselor); Bradley Stoneking, BHS associate principal; Classified – resignations: Holly Kuykendall, Batesville Middle School student specific paraprofessional; Sarah Bradford, BMS receptionist; new: Sarah Massey, BPS enrichment intersession paraprofessional; pay increases: Diana Baum, BCSC special education aide; Shelly Burns, BPS Ripley-Ohio-Dearborn Special Education Cooperative paraprofessional; Debbie Mullins, BHS administrative secretary/receptionist; Extracurricular – Amy Fledderman, BHS track and field assistant coach; T.J. Greene, BHS swim assistant coach; Kurt Enneking, BHS baseball freshman volunteer assistant coach; Ashely Andres, BHS track and field volunteer assistant coach.