BROWNSBURG — The Redevelopment Commission (RDC) here met Tuesday evening and agreed to a tax increment financing (TIF) pass through amount of $6 million for 2014.
The town has two TIF districts: Wynne Farms and the north beltway. The Wynne Farms district already has TIF district money going each year toward other entities including schools and libraries.
The RDC is charged with deciding how much money from the TIF districts are passed through to local taxing entities based on identified needs in that particular area, such as infrastructure projects.
The issue has been debated for the past year as it impacts several local taxing entities, including the Brownsburg Community School Corporation, Brownsburg Public Library, and Brownsburg Fire Territory.
The pass through amount decided on was $8.5 million less than the amount passed through this year, which was $14.5 million.
Opinions differed greatly on the issue, as RDC President Rob Kendall called the 4-1 decision a “great day for Brownsburg,” while Dr. Jim Snapp, superintendent of the BCSC called the ruling “disappointing.”
Committee member Gary Hood, who also serves on the town council, proposed an amendment that would have raised the pass through amount, but that proposal failed. He was the lone dissenting voter for the $6 million amount.
“Over the next couple of years, an excess of $21 million worth of road projects that need to be done will get done,” Kendall said. “It’s going to bring businesses and residents to town, and that’s going to help this community. From my perspective, it was never divisive. It’s all about doing the right thing for Brownsburg.”
Snapp said he was very disappointed in the decided on amount, which he noted was one seventh of what was passed through three years ago.
“We offered a number of options that we believe created a win-win situation for the town, for their expansion efforts, and for the taxing entities including school, library, and fire territory,” Snapp said.
The TIF pass through amount being lowered figured to affect the BCSC’s transportation levy, which has been dwindling. Snapp reported in March that from 2009 to ‘13, the total levy lost was about $3.2 million.
According to the Summary Impact of Estimated Pass-Through Scenarios report put together by Umbaugh and Associates, an additional $14.5 million pass through, which would have taken the amount passed through down to $0, would have impacted the school $123,246. The town proposed to the RDC an $8 million pass through at the meeting, which would have carried an impact of $55,361.
Indiana’s state constitution has a commercial property tax cap at 3 percent, which Kendall said played a role in the decision-making over the last year.
“In a tax-cap state that we live in, we have to level out the amount of commercial development to residential,” he explained. “If we don’t do that, the town and all of the entities in it are going to experience funding problems. We have to be able to attract more commercial to this community if we’re going to be able to thrive, and we have to get these infrastructure projects done, which will attract the necessary businesses.
“The goal is to help everyone. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together.”
Kendall went on to note how TIF monies relate to the infrastructure projects.
“What we’ll do is pay cash on occasion for projects for cash and bond, and based on interest rates we can usually get around $12 worth of road projects for every $1 we have,” he said. “Per state statute, the charge of the RDC is to look at the identified needs every year as identified by the cap every year.”
The impact to the BCSC under the $6 million is expected to be around $70,000. Town Manager Grant Kleinhenz reported throughout the process that TIF funds are instrumental in building undeveloped portions of Brownsburg that could lead to more than $1 billion in assessed value coming via the Ronald Reagan Parkway area.
Snapp called the decision a “humbling experience” and applauded the community that came out in support of the other taxing entities. The meeting was filled with BCSC employees donning purple and eagerly awaiting the decision.
“We had employees representing every job classification and every school there,” Snapp said. “As a school corporation staff, we all stand together. From bus drivers to technology people along with many other community members. It was very powerful.”
The TIF pass through amount is decided on an annual basis. Snapp said that the school will be looking at next year’s concerns soon.
“We will address this issue with the RDC,” he said. “The school corporation and the children cannot continue to survive the cuts.”
Kendall cited the town’s comprehensive plan as the reason for making these decisions going into next year.
“Everything from the completion of Ronald Reagan Parkway, to (State Road) 267, to Tilden, to Northfield East and West, and Odell and (U.S.) 136,” Kendall said. “These are all things that the community said through the comprehensive plan that they want done, so all we’re doing is completing the voice of the council essentially through the comprehensive plan or (town council) voice vote.”
Councilman Dave Richardson, who recently proposed legislation at a meeting that would ask the RDC to seek council opinion regarding this decision, said he was disappointed in the process and the result.
“I’m disappointed that we’ve created ill will, bad feelings amongst our community partners,” he said. “I don’t think the $6 million calculates.”