The Porter County
Commissioners will hold a public hearing Tuesday to create a tax increment
finance (TIF) zone around the Porter County Regional Airport.
The hearing will
follow the Commissioners’ regular 1 p.m. meeting in Room 205 of the County
Administration Building, 155 Indiana Avenue, Valparaiso.
This is the final
step in enacting the TIF zone which the County Redevelopment Commission has
worked on since shelving the proposed TIF around the Porter Regional
Hospital on U.S. 6.
approved a TIF resolution in March after the Plan Commission agreed the
proposal conformed to zoning rules.
The proposed zone
includes nearly six square miles in Washington Twp. The zone includes
commercial and industrial areas astride U.S. 30 from Ind. 2 to the north to
the County Fairgrounds to the south. The eastern boundary is 450E and the
western is the Valparaiso City limit.
The East Porter
County School Corporation and other overlapping taxing units would 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.
In May, Valparaiso
City Redevelopment Director Patrick Lyp came before the RDC to suggest
putting the TIF resolution aside and consider creating an Airport
Development Zone. “It’s not an either or proposition. We are trying to
convey there are other potential arguments for the County and City to work
together,” said Lyp.
Lyp said that
joining the resources of the County with that of the City, which has utility
services available, along with the Northwest Indiana Redevelopment Authority
would maximize the tools available for economic development in the area.
Lyp suggests the
Commissioners table the TIF resolution until they have the chance to study
the proposal further.
The ADZ would use
collaboration to propel the “In Plane View” plan developed years ago by both
the County and the City for future growth, Lyp said. “The whole point of
that report was for the County and the City to oversee development. Pulling
in different directions is not going to help,” he said, adding that the
report “should not be on the shelf collecting dust.”
Because it cannot
be created by just the County or the City, an ADZ would have to be created
with special legislation from the Indiana General Assembly, Lyp said.
RDC president Ric
Frataccia said he would also recommend the Commissioners table the matter
and that looking at ways the County can partner with other municipalities
should be a charge of the Redevelopment Commission.
RDC member and
County Councilman Jeremy Rivas, D-2nd, said that although he agrees there
could be room for collaboration with Valparaiso, he is puzzled by the fact
this proposal came after the Commission had already sent the confirmatory
resolution to the County Commissioners. “Where were these guys six months
ago?” he said.
The County RDC has
worked closely with officials from the EPCSC and they should not get left
out, Rivas said. An ADZ would mean revenues would only be used for
development at the airport and no other taxing unit could reap the benefits,
Rivas said it looks
like a “money grab” to him and hopes the work the RDC put in does not go to
waste. He questions if the proposal would be successful in the statehouse
since “they tend to frown upon special legislation,” he said.
Lyp said it would
take longer to set up the ADZ than a TIF zone but says the wait will be
worth it if done right.
Frataccia said he
believes the proposal from Valparaiso came this late because they had
undergone a transition of leadership. Lyp took the role of Valparaiso RDC
director a few months ago. The work of the County RDC will not be in vain,
Frataccia said, as it will serve as a template for future TIF proposals.
Because of the work that was done in the Airport TIF, Frataccia said there
has been a request to reconsider the hospital TIF from Liberty Twp.
residents who saw the cooperation with schools for the airport.
In other business
Tuesday, the Commissioners will vote on two amendments relating to the
enforcement of vehicle weight limits in county right-of-ways. One proposed
amendment intends to fine vehicles with an individual axle weight of more
than 20,000 lbs. and axle tandem groups of more than 34,000 lbs. without a
special permit, not to exceed $5,000. Fines would be distributed 40 percent
to the Sheriff’s Police and 60 percent to the Highway Department, another
In department head
requests, County Assessor Jon Snyder will ask the board to approve the most
recent hourly fee and consulting agreement for the Property Tax Assessment
Board of Appeals.
Superintendent Walter Lenckos asks approval for an ordinance establishing a
fund to deposit proceeds from the Porter County Community Foundation.