JEFFERSONVILLE — From Duffy's Landing to Big Four Station, some of the largest projects, improvements and developments in Jeffersonville over the past decade have been funded at least in part through tax-increment financing.

The Jeffersonville Redevelopment Commission was reassured Wednesday that the city’s TIF districts are in good shape, and that’s even with predicting a 5% reduction this year in collections because of the pandemic.

Brian Colton, principal at the firm Baker Tilly, provided an update on each of Jeffersonville’s districts and anticipated collections.

The main district, known as Inner City Roads, has accounted for about $47 million in pay-as-you-go funding for projects since 2012, and an additional $24 million in debt service. It’s estimated the district over the next five years will generate about $9 million annually in collections with about $5 million annually dedicated for debt service.

Jeffersonville’s oldest TIF district, Falls Landing, which was established in the 1980s, is anticipated to bring in about $2.2 million annually over the next five years. The district will be tapped for about $552,000 each year over that period for debt service.

The Galvstar, Vogt Valve, Bethnova and Keystone districts are scheduled to generate about $3 million annually over the next five years.

A recent review of collections for about half of 2020 has led the firm to be “pretty optimistic” that the pandemic hasn’t made a major impact on the districts, Colton said.

“We thought it might be significantly less but it looked like it was on pace for getting about half of the year’s distribution,” Colton said of the Inner City district.

TIF districts are often discussed and debated by legislators at the state and local levels as to their effectiveness and fairness.

Essentially a city like Jeffersonville declares an area a TIF district if there’s a good chance that it can be used for future developments and growth. The assessed property values are frozen at the point the TIF is declared, and the city garners the increment in assessment over the life of the district.

The laws have changed over the years, but Indiana’s current restriction is for a district’s life to be no more than 25 years.

Some of the debate historically has been over how the declaration of a district affects other taxing units such as school systems and county entities. Those units still collect the original tax rate, just not the increment.

Colton used the “but for” analogy when describing why many people support TIF districts.

But for the creation of the district, the developments that followed would likely not have come to fruition, he said.

That reasoning is based on the fact that typically the entity that declares the TIF district foots the costs for infrastructure improvements in that area to lure developments and new businesses.

“You don’t grow,” Mayor Mike Moore said in response to a hypothetical question on what a city without TIF districts looks like.

He said the residents of Jeffersonville have enjoyed improvements to parks, streets and educational facilities without tax hikes because of TIF districts.

New developments and businesses attract residents and create jobs, which also help the city’s coffers, officials said.

Colton added that without TIF, the city would have needed a substantial tax increase to pay for the infrastructure improvements that have been completed in recent years.

Moore said such an approach would stymie growth.

“Residents and businesses flee when you increase taxes,” he said.

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