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Porter Airport TIF district moves ahead

Updated: May 19, 2014 2:31PM



VALPARAISO — The Porter County Redevelopment Commission moved a county-sponsored special taxing district another step forward Thursday, supporting a district around Porter County Regional Airport with an amendment that provides extra protection for school corporations.

A public hearing on the tax increment financing district, which facilitates development through financial incentives, drew little comment, except from East Porter County School Corp. Supt. Rod Gardin, who has been actively involved in the process. Gardin said he liked that the allocation of tax revenue from the TIF district could not be amended without consent of the school corporation.

Under the district’s terms, 60 percent of new tax revenue would go to the TIF district, while the rest would return to the taxing bodies within the district, including the schools. Commission members also have agreed to provide grants to the school corporation to make up for the rest of the lost tax revenue.

“It kind of gives us protection, after this board is gone and another board replaces it, that the terms of this can’t be changed,” he said.

Commissioners readily agreed to amend the resolution for the TIF district and restore the protection clause for the schools.

While East Porter is the only school corporation impacted by the TIF district now, the new language covers any school corporation in the future that is affected by it, said Dan Botich, with Cender and Co., which put together the proposal.

“I appreciate the fact that this commission has included the school corporation, and not just this school corporation, but any school that might be affected in the future,” said East Porter school board member Bob Martin, adding that’s why he wanted the amendment included. “I trust everyone on this board, but you’re not all going to live forever.”

The resolution, which commissioners passed unanimously, now goes to the county commissioners, who will approve creating the TIF district, said attorney Gregg Sobkowski. It will then be filed with the county auditor’s Office and the state Department of Local Government Finance.

“And then we’re done with the creation of the airport area,” he said.

The commission will next meet June 26 to learn more about how proposed changes in state law, which could take effect July 1, might affect it.

Commissioners also have said they might revisit creating a TIF district around Porter Regional Hospital in Liberty Township.



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