VALPARAISO | The Porter County Redevelopment Commission has tabled plans for a tax increment financing district in the area of the new hospital and is now looking south in and around the county airport instead.
The group received a preliminary report Thursday identifying $48.7 million in potential projects to be funded by capturing revenue from new commercial development in the proposed economic development area.
Just more than 61 percent of the money is designated for infrastructure and safety improvements within the airport in Washington Township, including runway and facility upgrades as well as hangars.
When Commission Chairman E. Ric Frataccia questioned the benefit to the public by the investment at the airport, Dan Botich, executive of Cender & Co., said the gains would be more on private and corporate levels.
A corporation may voice need for a certain type of airplane hangar while considering locating its headquarters in Porter County, he said.
The TIF plan, which was created by Cender & Co., lists as its goals addressing underutilized land and other barriers to economic development.
Opponents of TIFs argue their use denies new revenues to other taxing units, such as schools and emergency services, and prevents homeowners from benefiting from a higher assessed valuation caused by development.
Those concerns were voiced Thursday by East Porter County School Superintendent Rod Gardin, who asked the group not to capture new revenue designated for his school system.
Commission members assured Gardin they would do what they could to provide the school corporation with its share of any new revenues, in addition to including a school representative in the TIF planning process.
"I don't think it's our intent to have enemies," Frataccia said.
While the initial version of the economic development area map took in 2.6 square miles, the commission sought changes that would expand its size.