PRINCETON — Gibson County Redevelopment Commission advisory member Mark Iunghuhn told the board Monday that representatives of the Indiana School Boards Association are discussing the impact of tax increment finance districts on school corporations across Indiana.

Iunghuhn, a North Gibson school trustee who serves as a non-voting member of the local redevelopment commission, reported that ISBA representatives are meeting with Indiana Economic Development Corp. to study the affect of property taxes captured within TIF districts, and some of the first numbers the panel explored were eye-opening.

Iunghuhn said there are 935 TIF districts in 89 Indiana counties capturing $29.5 billion across the state.

He said the 2018 sum cash balance of those districts was $702 million, and in the 2019 pay 2020 tax year, only 32 school corporations in the state receive any “pass-through” from those districts. The “pass-through” is the amount of property valuation within a TIF district that is set by a redevelopment commission to be passed on to the general tax base. Without “pass-through,” the total valuation within a TIF district can be captured for TIF projects.

Gibson County has three TIF districts: the Patoka-Union Township (Toyota) district, Owensville-Montgomery Township (coal mine) district and the Vuteq district.

Iunghuhn said that across the state, 11 TIF districts collect funds but spend no money on projects. Another 50 TIF districts collect more htan 200% of those districts’ obligations.

Iunghuhn said that while he believes the TIF districts established by the local redevelopment commission have room for improvement, the county compares favorably for positive practices.

He said the study group has had two joint meetings and expects to conduct several more. “They’ve just woken up,” he said, noting that about 700 of the TIF districts in Indiana are city districts and coming near the end of their lifespan. “We don’t want to sound like we’re shutting off economic development, but we have to recognize that if X number of municipalities are using TIF to shore up their budgets, it’s a huge issue,” he suggested.

During Monday’s session, Gibson County Commissioner Steve Bottoms reported that the Toyota traffic improvement project for lot 2 is nearly complete and survey/permit work is near completion for a turn lane project at U.S. 41 and County Road 350 South. He said engineers hope to be ready to work on bids in March.

Bottoms said Toyota is evaluating potential projects to solve traffic flow issues for the parking lot on the southeast side of the property as well. Traffic flows in and out from County Road 100 East.

The commission approved a $208,910.65 pay estimate to Ragle Construction for the City of Princeton’s Seminary Street water main project, which is funded with use of up to $1 million in TIF revenue. Engineer Eric Parsley told the board the work is 60-70% complete and on target to be finished in mid-March, weather permitting.

Gibson County Auditor Sherri Smith reported the Toyota TIF district general fund has a balance of nearly $5.5 million. She said she closed out accounts for 16 completed TIF projects and 23 accounts remain open.
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