Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

November 5, 2013

Regional economic director advises county panel

(Continued)

Lack of money can hang up a project. The director said IEDC has two funds that can support local efforts. The Industrial Development Grant Fund provides up to $200,000 in infrastructure grants to communities on the condition 50 percent is reimbursed. The Skills Enhancement Fund offers training reimbursement. Martino was interested in the first grant. Lane noted details are on the Web site at http://iedc.in.gov/. “It’s project specific, based on net new jobs, wages, investment. Say a community needs to put in $500,000 worth of road or sewer improvements.” Instead of paying the company a customary $8,500 per worker, that state money could be set aside for upgraded infrastructure. IEDC can provide up to $250,000 with the local entity matching half of the project’s cost. During the negotiation process with a company, the grant can be awarded.

Schirmer asked what Lane’s connection is with the Lawrenceburg grant program. “I have an advisory role” on the grants committee, the director explained. Lawrenceburg program leaders want to know how IEDC is involved with a potential project. “Actually, I bring leads to them.” Lane likes those grants to be used to better infrastructure, because if a company comes to an area, then leaves, the city or county still has the infrastructure. He warned, “Communities have to protect themselves” in agreements.

Commissioner Tom Wilson asked whether Franklin County should offer tax abatements. Lane answered, “I’m not aware of any community that doesn’t.” He reminded that an abatement must be approved by a city or county council.

There is strength in numbers. According to Lane, “If you just say, I’m going to promote Brookville, Ind., it’s a tough sell.” He advised becoming affiliated with a regional group. It is unclear if Franklin County still is a member of the I-74 Business Corridor (www.i74biz.com says City of Batesville and Dearborn, Decatur, Franklin, Ripley, Rush and Shelby counties are partners) and Southeastern Indiana Growth Alliance (members are City of Batesville and Dearborn, Franklin, Ohio, Ripley and Switzerland counties, according to http://southeastindiana.org).

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