Konradi quizzed her, “How many counties in Indiana have” these commissions? “More than half” was the expert’s answer.
Jeff Franks, Brookville, who owns property near the former J and J Packaging facility, wondered, “Why would a landowner want his property in a TIF district?” Lee said its property value could improve.
Paula Keller, Whitewater Township, asked, “Are companies going to be bringing employees with them from somewhere else or will they be creating new jobs?” Commissioner Scott McDonough pointed out an incentive package can specify what percentage of employees will come from the county.
Commissioner Tom Wilson asked if the panel would have rights to eminent domain. The general answer was no. She explained, “In a blighted area, the (redevelopment) commission can declare eminent domain with approval of a legislative body,” such as the commissioners. Wilson needed a definition of blighted area. The attorney answered, “Brownfields, (land with) environmental issues, old dilapidated buildings, obsolete buildings. If you acquire them, you can demolish them.”
Council member Aaron Leffingwell asked, “Can council members or commissioners appoint themselves to the board?” Lee recommended that one faction not have the majority. For instance, all three commissioners should not be appointed, but one or two could be.
Council member Daryl Kramer fretted about a worst case scenario. What if a company locates within a TIF area, the redevelopment commission issues bonds, then the company fails? She advised, “You hope you have good bond counsel,” who insures the company is taking the risk on the bond issue. “The company may be required to buy the bonds or guarantee the bonds. If TIF money is short, the company may be required to pay the shortfall.”
McDonough questioned whether TIF funds could be used for road maintenance and the answer was yes, even if roads are outside of the area, but lead to it.