Lawrence County Redevelopment Commission approves attorney contract

BEDFORD – The Lawrence County Redevelopment Commission on Tuesday approved a contract to hire David Smith as their legal counsel. The rate for services will be $250 an hour for any legal work required by the commission. A retainer for the commission was not included in the contract.

The commission also approved passed-through letters for public entities within the current TIF districts. This means all revenues generated by TIF this year will be given to those entities.

Heidi Amspaugh with Baker-Tilly explained to the new RDC members the role of the group in regards to economic development and tax incremental financing known as TIF.

Lehigh Hanson Inc. $660 million expansion project is an excellent economic boom for the area. Lawrence County will be using the TIF revenues generated from the expansion for other projects around the TIF areas.

A redevelopment district is a special taxing district that can be used to acquire property, dispose of property, repair or maintain or build structures, contract for public improvements such as roads, rails, bridges, sewers, or other improvements.

A redevelopment district can issue bonds, enter into leases, and accept grants or loans.

The duties of a Redevelopment Commission include promoting land use that best serves the county, cooperates with other government bodies, investigates studies and combat blight, prepare redevelopment and economic development plans, and establish or expand, or amend TIF areas to capture real and or personal property incremental assessed value.

One TIF district is located within Marshall Township which includes D&M Tool Corporation and another is within Marion Township which includes Lehigh Hanson Inc.

D & M Tool sits in the Marshall Township TIF district

There are three TIF districts within the City of Bedford, which is governed by the City of Bedford’s Redevelopment Commission.

The funding from the Lawrence Redevelopment Commission will be generated by the TIF and a small amount from tax abatements.

The current revenue for the Lawrence County Redevelopment Commission will be coming from the sale of Dunn Memorial Hospital and the current TIF revenues from Marshall Township.

There is currently $236,836.72 from the Marshall Township TIF district and $1,085,821.87 from the sale of Dunn Hospital that can be used by the Lawrence County Redevelopment Commission.

The Lawrence County Redevelopment Commission has not been active for over the last six years, and county officials see this as an excellent opportunity to incentivize economic development within the county.

Tax Increment Financing is a financing tool used to facilitate economic development that improves jobs, wages, increased local spending, economic diversification, redevelopment, improve quality of life, and build a tax base.

The incentives from a Redevelopment Commission encourage new business investment which increases local and state tax base, reduces the tax burden, reduces property taxes, reduces property taxes lost due to tax caps.

This encourages job creation or rentention, and helps compete for business and industry expansion.

The TIF districts capture new assessed value within the district and help finance incentives or infrastructure needed to induce private investments. This will in fact encourage orderly economic growth to targeted areas, redevelop blighted areas. The new business will still pay property taxes on their new private investment.

The life of a TIF district begins when bonds are first issued and last for approximately 25 years.

TIF districts can be established or ammended as needed.

Some TIF projects around the state include, Van Buren which constructed a water tower for Weaver Popcorn, Evansville, which helped with Vectern Headquarters and Berry Plastics, or in Spencer County, with AK Steel.

The next area the Lawrence County Redevelopment Commission will be working on is a Redevelopment Commission Plan which adopts a resolution, plan and factual report.

Lawrence County does not have a Plan Commission so it is not known how the RDC will move forward with this plan, but must also be approved by the Lawrence County Commissioners and Lawrence County Council. A public hearing must also be held to inform the public of future plans.

The next Lawrence County Redevelopment Commission will be held on July 8, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. at the Lawrence County Courthouse.