The Porter County
Redevelopment Commission added language to a new confirmatory resolution for
the proposed tax increment finance (TIF) area at the Porter County Regional
Airport that will better protect schools in the future.
According to the
amended resolution, the RDC cannot change the tax allocations of the TIF
area without written consent of the corresponding school corporation, or in
this case the East Porter County School Corporation.
The TIF district is
primarily in Washington Township on the east side of Indiana 49 between
State Rd. 2 and Division Road. It covers about six square miles including
the airport itself, Porter County Expo Center and Fairgrounds to the south,
the former Orville Redenbacher plant to east near CR 450E, and Washington
Twp. School to the north.
The Airport TIF is
on track to becoming the first TIF district ever established in
unincorporated Porter County. A declaratory resolution has been approved by
the RDC, the Plan Commission and the County Commissioners.
Thursday was the
RDC’s public hearing for the confirmatory resolution that would be the
ultimate step in implementing the TIF. Legal advisor Gregg Sobkowski said
once approved, the resolution would go to the County Auditor and Treasurer
and the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance. Only tax revenues
from real property can qualify for use of the TIF by the redevelopment
The RDC moved their
meeting time from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. to make it more convenient for
residents who wished to speak on the resolution, but the meeting saw only
its usual attendants - East Porter County School Superintendent Rod Gardin
with school board member Bob Martin. Also present was Liberty Twp. resident
Tim Cole who has made the request that the RDC rekindle its consideration
for a TIF district around Porter Regional Hospital and the U.S. 6 corridor.
Gardin and Martin
commended the commission on their active cooperation in making sure the
school corporation and the other overlapping taxing units can receive 40
percent of the new tax revenue. Sixty percent would go to the TIF district
to invest in new infrastructure, utilities and public improvements.
“I appreciate the
fact this commission has included the school corporation, and not just this
school corporation, but any that may be affected in the future,” said
Gardin said he
appreciated the language that mentioned that changes in allocation must
require consent from the affected school district. It turns out he was
reading an earlier draft of the declaratory resolution and the phrasing
hadn’t appeared in the final version that was approved by the County
Sobkowski said that
the RDC could make changes or amendments to the confirmatory resolution with
comments that were given to them in the public hearing.
The commission -
consisting of President Ric Frataccia, Dave Burrus, Robert Thompson and
County Council members Jeremy Rivas, D-2nd, and Jim Polarek, R-4th, voted
unanimously to restore the language.
Ralph Ayes, who
serves as the RDC’s non-voting advisor on school corporations, questioned on
a technical basis if the phrase “school corporation” specifically referred
to East Porter County Schools or to any school corporation affected by the
Based on the
placement of the language, Sobkowski said the language would apply to any
school district in the boundaries.
With the RDC’s
approval, the resolution will now be forwarded to the County Commissioners
to put it up to a vote on their board.
complimented his peers on their work and said it was the commission’s goal
from the start to come up with a scenario that would prevent harm befalling
on the schools. “You all should be proud of yourselves,” he said.
As for getting back
to the Liberty Twp. TIF plan at the hospital, Frataccia said he would prefer
not to jump into that discussion quite yet as he would like to see the
Airport TIF make it through the necessary hoops first.
“I would like for
us to catch our breath,” he said.
The RDC will meet
again on June 26. Thompson said the board at that time should discuss what
changes are coming for local RDC’s stemming from new state laws that go into
effect on July 1.