VALPARAISO | Porter County officials are rolling ahead with the creation of the first tax increment financing district in the unincorporated area of the county.
The Porter County Redevelopment Commission agreed Thursday to host a public hearing on the proposal at 6 p.m. April 17 if the Board of County Commissioners signs off on the plan next month.
The proposal, which calls for establishing a TIF district in the area of the county airport in Washington Township, recently won the support of the Porter County Plan Commission.
TIF districts operate by capturing revenue from new commercial development within a designated area and then investing that money back into the defined zone. The county's proposal identifies $69.4 million in proposed projects, including $30 million in improvements at the airport, and a variety of utility, right-of-way and other projects.
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.
The redevelopment commission members have agreed to release 40 percent of the TIF proceeds to overlapping taxing units, including the East Porter County School Corp., said Commission Attorney Gregg Sobkowski.
The commission also voiced its intention to fund educational programs at the schools, which is allowed for under the law, he said.
While the redevelopment commission tabled its initial plans last year to pursue a TIF district in the area of the new hospital at U.S. 6 and Ind. 49, Liberty Township resident Tim Cole appeared Thursday asking the board to put that proposal back on the table.
Cole said a TIF district could benefit that section of the county.
Commission Chairman E. Ric Frataccia said the group would take the request into consideration.