Lawrence County Redevelopment Commission holds its first meeting Thursday morning

LAWRENCE CO. – The Lawrence County Redevelopment Commission held its first meeting in the auditor’s office Thursday morning since 2016.

The commission has not been in service since 2016.

The commission will help direct and attract economic opportunities for Lawrence County.

The members include Rex Knight, of SIDC, Wally Branham a Lawrence County District 3 Commissioner, Jeff Quyle, of Radius Indiana, Scott Smith president of the Lawrence County Council, Tim Deckard president of D & M Tool Corporation and Jessica Staggs Lawrence County Auditor.

During their meeting, the commission elected Jeff Quyle, as president, Wally Branham, as vice-president, and Scott Smith will serve as secretary.

Lawrence County is in a unique position with the Lehigh Cement plant project, which triggered the Lawrence County government to re-appoint the Redevelopment Commission.

Not many counties in Southern Indiana receive this type of massive investment in their jurisdiction. Knox County saw Duke Energy build a plant a few years ago, and Morgan County received a new IPL Power Plant in recent years. In both cases, the county government set up TIF districts to help manage the needs of the projects.

TIF is authorized at the state level and administered by local governments. The local government designates an area it wants to target for redevelopment as a “TIF district” (sometimes also called by other names such as tax increment district, or TID).

Lehigh is currently undergoing a $600 Million expansion

The Lehigh Company is undergoing a $600 million investment in the Mitchell area. Lehigh Company sits in one of two TIF Districts in Lawrence County. The other TIF district is in Marshall Township where PRD and D & M Tool is located.

PRD lies within the Marshall Township TIF district

The Redevelopment Commission will need to develop their skills to enable them to learn and follow the best practices and to allow them to carry out their duties in an efficient manner.

During their meeting Thursday, the Redevelopment Commission selected Baker Tilly Municipal Advisors LLC to advise them through the process and how to best execute their work.

D & M Tool lies within the Marshall Township TIF District

The group will be developing a long-term plan that will enable them to be helpful to businesses throughout the TIF areas, and to help Lehigh with their project.

“Lehigh is a great investment in the community. This will set an anchor of investment that shows that there will be employment and production happening in the Mitchell area for decades to come,” said the commission. “Construction is underway, there are going to be necessary adjustments that will have to be made to handle expected and unexpected things that will come up with this large of a project. Roads in the area will carry heavy construction traffic and heavy traffic will cause needed regular repair and maintenance. Local governments like the City of Mitchell and Marion Township may run into special needs with this project. Having the redevelopment commission in place will allow county government to work with the local government partners effectively without putting a straining the everyday budget of county government.”

A total of $1,085,821 have been set aside for Economic Development that may be used to help the Lawrence County Redevelopment Commission

Funding for the redevelopment commission will come from TIF district revenues, and tax abatement fees.

The redevelopment commission will be asking for appropriations from existing funds in the TIF district. Currently, there is $236,836 available in that fund. In addition, a total of $1,085,821.82 from the sale of Dunn Memorial Hospital has been set aside for economic development purposes that may be available to the commission.

The next meeting of the Lawrence County Redevelopment Commission will be at 1:00 p.m. on June 8th, held in the auditor’s office at the Lawrence County Courthouse.