Accrued TIF funds could help solve Dunbar problem

Authored by Jim Langham on Sep 11, 2013

“If anything is going to help address the Dunbar problem it is going to be TIF funding,” said Berne city attorney James Beitler at council meeting on Monday.
Beitler says that he thinks that demolition and cleanup of the old Dunbar Furniture Factory will eventually happen, but if it does, it is going to come through TIF money.
Attorney Dennis Otto told council members on Monday evening that enlarging the TIF area could help city officials deal with such projects as storm water and sewer improvements, street repair, park improvement and resolution of the Dunbar Furniture site.
Otto said that a TIF area which brought the establishment and success of FCC still has 15 years of life left on it.
“When this new TIF area is created, it will have a life of 25 years, which goes way beyond the FCC area,” said Otto.
Berne Mayor Bill McKean said that paying off of a bond issue currently being utilized would be the first necessity of using TIF funding. However, once that has been resolved, said McKean, there would be freedom to use the funding for many city improvements.
Otto, of the law firm Bose, McKinney and Evans of Indianapolis, told council that TIF funds can be used for any improvements within the TIF area. A general outline of the TIF area would include along the old railroad and Dearborn Street, north and south, and through downtown and to the west along Main and Water Streets.
McKean said that establishment of the TIF regulation would mean that any new business in the new TIF area would be eligible for its tax payments to go into the TIF fund rather than county coffers.
Council passed a resolution that allowed for the implementation of a declaratory resolution and economic development plan of the Berne Redevelopment Commission and the order of the Berne Planning Commission.
“This is a tool in the tool box; if we don’t use it, we are foolish,” said McKean. “We know that Dunbar is a huge thing hanging over us.”

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