A complicated plan to provide assistance with site preparation funding for a new industry in Bluffton cleared its first hurdle Tuesday night.
The Bluffton Common Council, meeting as the city’s Redevelopment Commission, issued an “Amending Declaratory Resolution” toward including the 20/20 Custom Molded Plastics facility at 785 Decker Drive within the Adams Street Tax Increment Financing district.
The process is scheduled to continue Thursday night when the Wells County Area Plan Commission reviews the company’s development plan for its expansion. Among the other matters the APC will consider is approving what the Bluffton Redevelopment Commission approved Tuesday night.
There will be other steps, as well. When all is said and done — and the timetable calls for the paperwork to be complete Nov. 21 — the company will be able to buy back its own bonds from the TIF district.
The plan will save 20/20 a tax liability on $1.7 million, which will be used for infrastructure improvements to the site — most significantly, the closing of a ditch. Also included in that is site preparation and site development work, which will also involve extending a railroad spur to the expansion site.
Chad Kline, Wells County’s economic development director, said the company has purchased 30 acres near its current site “and it will be using every bit of that.”
Kline said 20/20 will spend in the vicinity of $40 million on its expansion and will have a larger production in Bluffton than in its base operation in Holiday City, Ohio.
The company bought the former Buckhorn plant a little more than a year ago. Its plans now call for 200 employees at the end of its four-year expansion plan.
The plan going forward for the $1.7 million in the TIF District calls for agreement from the city’s Economic Development Commission as well as the APC, the Common Council, and the Redevelopment Commission. On Nov. 6, a public hearing will be held and the final steps will essentially be taken when the Common Council adopts a bond ordinance.
Closing on the financing agreement is scheduled for Nov. 21.
The company will only be able to use money out of the TIF district that it is responsible for. None of the parcels currently in the TIF district will provide any funds for 20/20’s expansion.
Heather James, an attorney with the Indianapolis-based Ice Miller law firm, led the council through the process Tuesday night.