The Washington Times-Herald

February 23, 2013

City board creates new economic zone

By Andrea McCann
Washington Times Herald

WASHINGTON — The City of Washington Redevelopment Commission, in a special meeting Thursday evening, adopted an Economic Development and Allocation Area on the city’s east side.

What that means for the city, according to Mayor Joe Wellman, is that any additional taxes created through new commercial and industrial development that occurs in the new economic development area will go to the redevelopment commission to be used for infrastructure improvements and expansion.

The mayor told commission members that a task force was formed to determine the area’s boundaries.

“The recommendation of the task force is to include the annexation area except for the Summer Hill and White Ridge subdivisions,” he said, explaining only commercial properties will be included.

Currently, Wellman said, taxes generated in an Economic Development and Allocation Area directly or indirectly can, by law, only be used to benefit that area. He further explained that, for example, if a new wastewater treatment facility is needed on the east side, it could be built near the Economic Development and Allocation Area Ñ not necessarily in it Ñ as long as its use benefits the area. He said that could change as the state Legislature is currently looking at those laws.

City attorney Tim Dant said no money can be collected until there’s an increase in taxable value. The Economic Development and Allocation Area starts at the city’s eastern edge and continues out past the I-69 interchange to CR 300E to the east, not quite reaching CR 100N to the north. The southern boundary encompasses some of the U.S. 50 bypass and a small section of I-69.

The mayor said he’s heard there have been some inquiries by companies interested in locating in the I-69 corridor, but doesn’t know of any offers as of yet. Commission member Tom Tucker expressed concern about the length of time it will take to get E. National Highway/bypass intersection relocated out there, but Wellman said some development can begin in the short term if a company expresses interest.

“So naming that allocation area is the first step in right direction,” said commission member Rev. George Qualley.

The next step will be for the proposed Economic Development and Allocation Area to be considered by the city’s Plan Commission at its March meeting. Then the city will post notices for a public hearing, the hearing will be held for residents to make comments, and then it will go before the Washington City Council.

The Redevelopment Commission will meet next at 5:30 p.m. April 8.