County officials seemed likely to move forward with a proposal to establish tax increment financing districts following a special meeting Monday.
Representatives from Reedy Financial Group and Indianapolis-based law firm Barnes and Thornburg presented information to county officials.
Commissioners Matt Reedy and Drew Markel attended along with county council President Dave Hall and council members Michael Davidson, Mark Hackman, John Nolting, Kari Storey and Brian Thompson. Commissioner Bob Gillaspy and Councilwoman Ann Cain were absent.
In a tax increment financing district, more commonly known as a TIF district, tax money is captured from new industrial development or increased property values in the district and is set aside to fund infrastructure or redevelopment or provide incentives to promote economic development in a community rather than being distributed to other taxing units.
Kimberly Blanchet and Bradley Bingham presented information about TIF districts. The two said such districts allow the new property taxes generated by a redevelopment or economic development project to remove obstacles of development.
Those obstacles include lack of public infrastructure, the price of land, parking, environmental contamination and incentive competition from other communities and states.
Gary Smith with Reedy Financial Group said TIFs give local governmental entities a chance to complete public safety or quality of life projects that attract investments, which increase the overall property value.
He said the districts also would attract capital investment and new residents, promote economic development and more.
To set up a TIF district, commissioners would first have to create a redevelopment commission by ordinance. As a county, the commission could have five or seven seats with a majority appointed by commissioners and other seats appointed by the county council.
Commissioners also would appoint a non-voting member who could attend the meetings and provide input.
The commission would have an initial organizational meeting and adopt a schedule of regular meetings.
The commission would then have the authority to establish the districts, which could be located throughout the county except areas where districts by cities and towns have been established. The city of Seymour and town of Crothersville each have TIF districts.
Brownstown is conducting a special meeting at noon Friday to gather information about establishing TIF districts, Councilman Mark Reynolds told the group.
Crothersville is looking at expanding its TIF district, said Curt Kovener, who serves as the town’s representative on the Jackson County Industrial Development Corp. board of directors. He said the town is looking to extend the district south on U.S. 31 to include Sims Bark Inc., a mulch company investing $10 million and bringing 20 to 30 jobs to the county.
Crothersville Town Council President Danieta Foster also attended the meeting with Councilman Chad Wilson.
The county had eyed that investment as a potential TIF district.
“I don’t think anyone here is going to be angry with you about including that in your district,” Hall told the group.
“It’s (TIF district proposal) not to hurt any community or town,” he said. “It’s to help Jackson County.”
Following the meeting, Reedy said he has wanted to create TIF districts in the county for more than a decade.
“I’ve wanted to do this for at least 12 years now,” he said. “I want to get this going as soon as possible.”
Reedy said he expects commissioners to discuss the issue and possibly begin the process of establishing TIF districts during a regularly scheduled meeting in August.
Commissioners meet at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday each month and at 9 a.m. on the third Tuesday.
If a redevelopment commission is established, it is expected to take a few months to get everything ready, Reedy said.
Establishing the districts this year would allow the county to capture revenue from investments within this calendar year.
He also said he thought the discussion was helpful.
“I think what Reedy Financial and Barnes and Thornburg bring to the table for the county and most of the cities here is phenomenal,” he said.
Reedy’s brother, Eric, started Reedy Financial Group. The three-term commissioner signs a nepotism clause each year to remove any conflicts of interest.
Hall said he found the presentation helpful and said no one from the public other than local government representatives came to speak against it.
“It doesn’t cost anyone anything, and it doesn’t raise anyone’s taxes. It just uses that money to benefit the county as a whole to gain more growth and bring more jobs and bring more people,” he said.
Hall said he anticipates the move to spur growth in many areas in the county.
“The school systems will grow, the workforce will grow and with 3.4% unemployment, we need more people,” he said. “If this helps attract new business and new people, we can help with the workforce.”