Construction of Sims Bark Co. in Crothersville is underway.
As part of the new bark mulch manufacturing facility coming to the southeastern Jackson County town, it offered donating $15,000 toward the town’s cost of supplying a sewer main to the east side of U.S. 31 to tie into Crothersville’s sewer collection system.
During a meeting earlier this month, the town council unanimously agreed to accept the donation and also approved a $6,800 contract for FPBH Inc. to design the sewer line.
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Brad Bender with FPBH, the town’s engineering consultant, said the total cost of the project is unknown until the plans are drawn up and the project goes out to bid.
"I think it’s a fair offer," Bender said of Sims Bark’s donation.
"They are potentially paying as much as 30%. That’s not a bad deal," town attorney Jeff Lorenzo said. "Assuming we go forward with voluntary annexation and they participate, which I think they will, then we’re going to have those tax dollars to supplement their cash contribution and the expansion of our TIF (tax increment financing) district."
A TIF district involves capturing tax money from new industrial development or increased property values in the district and setting it aside to fund infrastructure or redevelopment or provide incentives to promote economic development in a community rather than being distributed to other taxing units.
A TIF gives local governmental entities a chance to complete public safety or quality of life projects that attract investments, which increase the overall property value. The district also could attract capital investment and new residents.
Lorenzo said he currently is working on voluntary annexation with Sims Bark and a property owner. He already has received feedback from another property owner.
The new facility is off of U.S. 31 on County Road 1150E adjacent to Interstate 65 at the Crothersville exit. The new sewer line would make it possible for more development in the area.
The existing sewer lift station will be able to handle the additional capacity from Sims Bark, but it would have to be upgraded in the future if there is more development in that area, said Mason Boicourt, the town’s sewer superintendent.
"Across the road is not enough to take care of all of the voluntary annexation, so the timetable to provide some to these other parcels is three years, though, so it gives you plenty of time to budget, work with the TIF or something," Bender said. "Don’t think this is the only cost that will be associated, but this gets them started."
Simultaneously, Bender has to reconfigure the TIF district, Lorenzo said.
As far as a timetable for the sewer line project, Bender said that would start after the town receives permits from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and Indiana Department of Transportation.
The 8-inch line meets IDEM standards, and the 16-inch steel casing meets INDOT standards since it goes under the roadway, Bender said. A couple of manholes also will be added.
Bender estimates the project to cost between $50,000 and $70,000.
"Especially on smaller jobs, you don’t know which way the wind is blowing when you quote them anymore," he said. "Especially with the economy, you just don’t know. There’s no way to know how busy somebody might be or not be, what’s oil going to do, what’s steel going to do. It’s getting pretty tough for everybody to estimate."