By AMANDA GRAY
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Members of the Goshen City Council approved the consolidation of three tax-increment financing districts into one at their Tuesday meeting.
The Keystone I, Keystone II and Century Drive TIF districts will become part of the larger Southeast Economic Development Area. TIF districts are designated areas where a percentage of taxes are collected and used toward improvements within the boundaries of the district. The improvements tend to be infrastructure improvements, including sewer maintenance or road paving or repairing.
“We’ve seen a similar process with the Downtown, River Race and U.S. 33 TIF districts,” Community Development Director Mark Brinson said, referencing last year’s similar consolidations. “This is a little different because we’re adding additional areas.”
The additional areas are zoned Manufacturing-1 industrial, the same as the current TIF districts. There will also be a few Commercial-1 areas. TIF districts do not allow for Residential zoned areas to be included, according to Brinson.
“This allows us to fund projects in the entire area,” he said. “IT gives us the flexibility to work on projects we see need for, and it gives us the flexibility to work with needs within the entire boundary.”
Brinson said the entire TIF district is focused on projects, and 18 potential projects are listed in the resolution proposal. Utilities Engineer Dustin Sailor went over some of the major projects with the council and gathered crowd. The projects include everything from some funding for the proposed south link road to the intersection with Ind. 15 and Kercher Road, also known as C.R. 38.
“We’re also looking at stormwater improvements in the Goshen Industrial Park,” Sailor said. “We’ve worked with businesses, and we have come to resolutions, but those come with a price tag.”
The industrial growth in the area means good things for Goshen, but can also mean greater demands on the city to provide better infrastructure, as well as repairs. The TIF district helps fund those projects — a concept more important now than ever, according to Brinson, who cited declining property values as a reason for this consolidation.
Councilman Everett Thomas said the area is important to Goshen, and that the council members and residents should look at it as such.
“This is the economic engine of our area,” Thomas said. “We have to be vigilant in taking care of it.”
The resolution will now return to the city Redevelopment Commission for final approval. Brinson said he expects it to appear at the October meeting.
Appropriations for Fire Department expenses
The council members approved additional appropriations, including additional funds for the Fire Department’s purchase of a fire truck and other expenses.
Chief Dan Sink asked for $200,000 to be appropriated from Cumulative Capital Improvement Fire Fund to the “Other Equipment” expenditure line. The $200,000 will help fund the purchase of the new fire truck for the College Avenue Station, as well as the potential purchase of a property at the corner of College Avenue and 15th Street and improvements to radio signal on the south side of the city, Sink said.
“These funds are supplementing what I have for the end of the year,” Sink said. “These projects should be finished by the end of the year. If they aren’t, the cash will go back into the fund.”
The new fire truck is a “quint,” according to Sink. It’s a standard pumping truck that has a 75-foot ladder attached. It gives the responding battalion commander more options for rescue and recovery, Sink said, and will be useful in the College Avenue area because of the styles of structures in that area.
• The council members approved two economic revitalization area applications for Dutchmen Manufacturing Inc. and Lionshead Specialty Tire & Wheel LLC. The two tax abatements will give the companies a break on their property taxes for seven years and seven to ten years, respectively, while both companies make improvements, renovations and additions to their businesses in Goshen. The Dutchmen expansion should add around 131 jobs with an average yearly salary of around $42,000, while the Lionshead project will add around 60 jobs with an average around $35,000, according to their ERA applications.
• The council members approved an emergency resolution for the transfer of funds for contractual services within three TIF districts, for a total of $1,400 for the three transfers.