ODON — The bonds that were part of the creation of the WestGate Tax Increment Finance District may be gone, but the district will continue to operate. The Daviess County Redevelopment Commission this week had the option to shut down the district but decided to continue it.
“We had a choice to shut it down and redirect the tax dollars or keep it in place and continue to capture those tax dollars,” said commissioner Michael Taylor, who also sits on the RDC Board. “We decided to keep it in place.”
The WestGate TIF district covers hundreds of acres in and near the tech park.
Since the bonds were sold in 2011, the area has seen considerable growth, and it appears that there could be more on the way.
“We met with Kent Parisian with the WestGate Authority and the Daviess County Economic Development Corporation and learned we may yet have a need for the money raised by the TIF district,” said Taylor.
“We have been told there are a number of projects being discussed at WestGate that we may need to have some money on hand to help land,” added Daviess County Council President Tony Duncheon, who also sits on the RDC. “Those projects are not far enough along for us discuss them but if they go through, they will have the same impact the other developments at the tech park have had, bringing in more jobs and higher salaries.”
Since the TIF district was established, it has captured anywhere from $70,000 to $140,000 in property taxes annually. That money was spent to pay off the bonds each year.
The county spent about $1.1 million this year to retire the WestGate bonds two years early. Now, the money captured by the TIF will be used to further develop the Daviess County area of the tech park.
“There is infrastructure to work on and different projects that need to happen, so we kept the district in place to help those projects along,” said Taylor. “There are more companies looking to get involved in the park. There appears to be more opportunities for construction and new jobs.”
By keeping the district in place the property taxes generated there will not be made available to the county, North Daviess schools, the Madison Township Trustee’s office or any other overlapping taxing district.
The RDC now also has control of a large parcel of undeveloped land around the tech park. The plan had been to retain the land north of SR 558 and sell about 160 acres south of the highway. For now, that plan is also on hold.