TELL CITY – Perry County Development Corp. is preparing for a boom in Tell City’s downtown development. With announcement in recent weeks that a new apartment building may locate along the riverwalk near the existing River Pointe complex, and possibly a hotel nearby as well, PCDC is trying to stay ahead of future funding needs by expanding revitalization districts.

Essentially, new properties will be absorbed into the potential tax allocation areas that extend from Mulzer Crushed Stone’s yard to Franklin School and onto what was the Can-Clay property. Within that lies the boundaries for the establishment of TC 1 and 2 tax-increment finance districts, which includes properties near River Pointe and the old Swiss Plywood warehouse, respectively.

“When you’re developing, you’re capturing the development that can occur,” PCDC project manager Alvin Evans told the county redevelopment board at its meeting Aug. 28. “It just gives you an option to fund money for development.”

He went on to say the redevelopment commission would have jurisdiction to decide what projects are accepted.

Redevelopment member Jon Scheer questioned the need to add a financing incentives in these areas.

“What is a TIF going to do for this area that the area can’t already do for itself?” he asked.

Evans contended the “funds do not exist today and this would help generate funds for the area.”

Redevelopment member Patrick Rich then questioned why the county board would have a say over city matters.

Evans explained that the covenants pertaining to the establishment of TIF’s drafted in the early 1990s were set up in this matter and they are bound to follow such procedures today.

“It was set up by all the cities and county that Perry County would only have one redevelopment commission,” he said.

Scheer argued that PCDC is looking to expand TIF beyond its intended use, noting that the incentive was meant to be used in areas that wouldn’t otherwise be developed, and with an investor already looking to build downtown, “it doesn’t fit the scope.” He went on to say that the statute would last 25 years and he would like to see a shorter timeframe.

“Both developers from Tell City No. 1 have asked that it be in the TIF district for public infrastructure because they recognize the community doesn’t have the excess funds to make improvements,” Evans responded.

Redevelopment member Tony Thomas pointed out that there are not firm numbers for the cost of needed infrastructure upgrades, and as such shouldn’t open a 25-year commitment with so many unknowns.

“It keeps the tax rate artificially high,” he said, noting that proponents of TIF disagree. Rich agreed, highlighting that there are many entities, such as the school, that will lose out on funding because of the measure.

Evans contended that if created, money captured through TIF could be passed through if no infrastructure projects are advanced.

In a split motion, the board voted 3-2 to create TC 1 and 2 TIF areas.
“Every other city in the state is doing this and it’s the only way to fund it,” board member Larry James said in making the motion in favor.

The redevelopment commission also accepted the downtown tract of land from Tell City that would be used for the apartments. The city recently agreed to provide the space for development but can’t convey the grounds directly.
Copyright 2020