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Bond plans uncertain after tie County Council vote

DAVE GONG | The Journal GazetteMay 16, 2019

A 3-3 vote by the Allen County Council on Thursday has caused some confusion about the issuance of $1.4 million in tax increment revenue bonds.

The bonds proceeds would go toward turn lane and signal improvements at the Parkview Regional Medical Center campus north of the Fort Wayne city limits, County Redevelopment Director Elissa McGauley told the council.

The improvements would be placed at Parkview Plaza Drive and Dupont Road; Dupont and Diebold roads; Parkview Plaza and Corporate drives; and Parkview Plaza Drive and West Campus Loop Road.

“Parkview will be the buyer of those bonds and the bonds will be repaid with no interest from the property tax increment collected from the Dupont-Diebold allocation area that the Redevelopment Commission established in February 2018,” McGauley said.

That Tax Increment Finance area encompasses the campus, McGauley said, totaling about 242 acres. Money generated by projects in a tax increment financing (TIF) district can be captured for use on other improvements within that district.

“What we’re doing there is leveraging the anticipated revenues, the future revenues from that allocation area into financing through a bond,” she said.

Approvals for the issuance of the bonds have already been granted by the Allen County Redevelopment Commission and the Allen County Commissioners, McGauley said.

Councilwoman Sharon Tucker, D-1st, and Councilmen Ken Fries, R-at large, and Kyle Kerley, R-at large, voted against the bond.

Councilmen Tom Harris, R-2nd, Joel Benz, R-3rd, and Larry Brown, R-4th, voted in favor. Councilman Bob Armstrong, R-at large, was absent Thursday.

In an interview after the meeting, Tucker said she does not believe the area should be a TIF district at all. The area, Tucker said, is no longer blighted and is thriving. The tax increment captured by the district, she said, would be better off put back into the community as a whole.

“The need, for me, was not proven,” Tucker said. “I believe they can do all they need to do without putting the county on the hook for those bonds or having that as a TIF district any longer.”

It’s now unclear whether the procedure can move forward.

“I encouraged the county attorney and (McGauley) to inquire with the Department of Local Government Finance to provide Indiana Law that requires Council to approve/appropriate the Redevelopment Commission Bonds,” County Auditor Nick Jordan said in an email. “In addition to this, we are also doing our own research to confirm the next route.”

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