City OKs Two Residential TIF Districts

(Carli Luca / News Now Warsaw)

With the Redevelopment Commission approving the declaratory resolutions for two residential TIF districts Monday after public hearings, Warsaw will be one of the first cities in Indiana to move forward with the districts.

There were two resolutions, one for the Harrison school district in the north and the other for the Eisenhower district in the south.

City Planner Jeremy Skinner reminded the commission they previously approved the designating resolution for the districts, and the districts were approved by the city plan commission and council as well as the Warsaw School Board. Four public meetings on the districts also were held. With the Redevelopment Commission’s final approval Monday, the districts were on their way to being created.

For the school board’s approval, Skinner said Umbaugh & Associates did a specific impact statement for the school board so it would know what the impact of the residential TIF districts would be on it.

“It assumed that we would accomplish what we were expecting to, which is to build 60 additional more homes per year over a 10-year period. And I think the loss to them would be about $10,000 in taxes they could have captured, at the end of the 10 years,” Skinner said.

For every 100 new homes that are built, the study assumes that 50 additional students would be added to the school system. Warsaw Schools receives about $5,800 per student from the state. That money goes into the educational operating fund, which includes teachers and salaries. Property taxes go toward the operation of facilities.

“One of the things we did, in talking to (WSB), in wanting to be good partners, in the economic development plan it does allow for us to participate in projects, where we legally can, within those school districts, if we were to achieve our goals and have funds on hand to help address any issues within those school districts,” Skinner said.

He said the city wants to target growth, specifically within the Eisenhower school district, and it’s known that there’s already growth in the Harrison district.

“So by being able to expand and create more housing opportunities in those districts, we will impact the school, both positively and negatively, positively being putting more students in the school, but negatively in that there are costs associated with those students in providing them facilities they need,” Skinner said.

During public discussion, Warsaw Schools Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert thanked the commission for the process.

“Between Jeremy and the mayor (Joe Thallemer), they spent quite a bit of time with our school board, going through it, and adding that piece in. Because one of our major concerns was what would happen with overcrowding, especially on the northern TIF district, if that was to happen around there. So thank you for adding that language. We feel very confident in that language and it’s very much appreciated,” he said.

School Board President Heather Reichenbach echoed Hoffert’s comments and commended the commission, Skinner and the mayor for “familiarizing and making the board comfortable with this process. We’re in the same business, and that’s growing communities, and I really feel like this is the next step for moving forward, and we all really appreciate the time invested in making our future best for Warsaw.”

Skinner said from the city’s standpoint, “There may be two or three other communities that have gone through this process, so we’re along the first communities to initiate the process. … Not a lot of examples around the state right now so we’re kind of the first through the wall.”

Commission President Tim Meyer said it was brand new legislation and “we’re taking advantage of it as soon as we possibly can, for the betterment of the community, the schools, everybody.”

Across the United States, Skinner said there’s a housing shortage, in terms of what’s being built compared to pre-recession. The residential TIF districts will provide a tool to help create more housing in the city.

The proposed North Residential TIF (Photo Provided: City of Warsaw)
The proposed South Residential TIF (Photo Provided: City of Warsaw)

In other business, the commission:

• Approved a memorandum of understanding between the city and High Performance Government Network. HPG Network is doing the housing study for the city, the county and the community foundation as they try to create a plan to address housing issues in the city and county. The agreement is not to exceed $50,000, dependent on the city “pursuing and getting a project that would be built at the end,” Skinner said.

• Approved $7,100 for Griffin Real Estate Services Inc., Fort Wayne, and $7,000 for Verne V. Mitchell & Associates Inc., Fort Wayne, to do appraisals concerning the Buffalo Street mixed-used property.

“As part of the next step in developing that mixed-use property, we need to appraise the property so we can dispose to the developer that will build the mixed-use building,” Skinner said.

• Tabled the purchase agreement of the property at 123 W. Fort Wayne St. because the second appraisal did not come in before Monday’s Redevelopment Commission meeting.

“We do have a purchase agreement to purchase the property,” Skinner said. “This is the third property of three properties at the corner of Fort Wayne and Indiana. We own two of them currently.”

The properties are being purchased for the potential relocation of the Parks and Recreation Department maintenance building.

• Approved the December claims, including $600,000 to the city of Warsaw for monies obligated to the wastewater department from the Northern TIF for 2019; $47,469.32 to Phend & Brown for the North Pointe Drive project from the Eastern TIF funds; and $37,618.86 to G & G Hauling & Excavating for the tech park lift station.

• Approved the site access agreement  between the commission and Indiana Brownfields Program for the former gas station at 443 N. Detroit St. The commission purchased the property earlier this year, and the site access agreement will allow a brownfield assessment to be conducted on the property, according to city Senior Planner Justin Taylor.

• Approved a change order for the Airport Industrial Sewer project which will increase the contract price by $76,684. The change order addresses some additional pavement work that is needed in order to remove gaps in the pavement between road sections with sewer improvements and segments without improvements.