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Terre Haute Redevelopment Department urges TIF district refinancing

Cliff Lambert, head of the Terre Haute Redevelopment department, explained the state of several of Terre Haute's tax incentive fund districts at Thursday night's special call city council meeting. The Redevelopment Department sets up these areas to revitalize deteriorating neighborhoods and attract new businesses.

The city maintains four TIF districts. The largest one is a legacy district that covers the downtown area, a second one covers Plaza North, a third covers State Route 46, and a fourth district seeks to provide industrial development on Margaret Avenue. Plans for Margaret Avenue include widening the existing road to 32 feet. Widening the road would provide heavy with easy access to the area, and it would attract companies seeking to build new warehousing facilities.

Expansion of the TIF on Margaret Avenue and on State Route 46 may create a need for a new fire station. Although the Terre Haute International Airport is not part of the State Route 46 district, it has seen economic development. The growth of the airport and surrounding areas means that the city may need to build a new fire station.

Businesses pay back the municipal investors through tax revenues collected from the buildings. If the building owners do not or cannot meet these obligations, investors are paid back using EDIT funds. None of the city's TIF districts face this problem. Most of them are generating a profit for the city. Only the Margaret Avenue District incur a loss, but bringing in new businesses into the area should correct the problem. Lambert hopes that the city's plan to widen the road to thirty-two feet would attract warehousing facilities.

When the city sets up a TIF district, it finances it through the sale of municipal bonds. These districts last for the thirty years, and the revenues generated from them cannot be used outside of the area as long as it exist.

Council members asked Lambert if the city should create a new district before the meeting adjourned. The head of redevelopment suggested issuing new bonds on the existed areas because municipal bond interest rates remain at historic lows.