Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

Local News

November 16, 2012

Efforts to boost FC economy eyed

BATESVILLE — About 30 Franklin County government officials and citizens were intent Nov. 7 on learning about how a county redevelopment commission could boost the area economy.

Franklin County Economic Development Commission member Bill Schirmer confessed, “I’m a rookie to this, on the job a few months” after director Franklin Thompson and President Michael Hiles resigned. Schirmer, the Brookville/Franklin County Chamber of Commerce president, wanted to explore the ability to help finance some economic growth projects without involving taxpayers. Creating a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is one way, but a redevelopment commission must be formed to oversee it.

After examining how the Greendale redevelopment commission was set up, “there are tons of questions to be asked and answered.” He invited Ice Miller, Indianapolis, partner Lisa Lee, who has set up a number of redevelopment commissions across Indiana, to enlighten all three commissioners and four of seven council members.

Lee explained the concept and tried to clear up misconceptions. “You draw an area that has a certain number of parcels in it,” which are assessed on March 1 annually. “That becomes the base assessed value for that TIF area. Overlapping taxing units are counting on that (money) for their budgets. That base value will continue to flow to those taxing units.” Each March 1 after the TIF area is defined, taxes from any new assessed value above the base value are captured and deposited into an allocation fund for a maximum of 25 years. Those dollars can be used for capital projects within or benefitting the area.

“The goal is to have a project sustain itself. You have a company come looking for a site, officials want incentives, maybe it needs infrastructure, such as a rail spur. You want to use the new taxes they’re generating to build projects they need” to get them to come here.

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