Bond for Ivy Tech building clears first hurdle

The Herald Times

Bond for Ivy Tech building clears first hurdle

Redevelopment commission in favor of issuing $2M bond tied to TIF district funding

Posted: Thursday, September 5, 2013 12:10 am | Updated: 1:52 am, Thu Sep 5, 2013.

By Rachel Bunn
331-4357 | rbunn@heraldt.com

Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington is one step closer to getting more space.

The Monroe County Redevelopment Commission voted in favor Wednesday of issuing a $2 million bond and entering a contract for the purchase of the Pain Real Estate building at the intersection of Daniels Way and Ind. 48, just west of Ivy Tech’s main academic building.

The planned bond still needs to be approved by the Monroe County Council and the Monroe County Board of Commissioners, and the proposal will return to the redevelopment commission for a public hearing.

The bond will cover the Westside TIF District fund’s share of the $1,625,000 purchase price — Ivy Tech provided $25,000 toward the purchase — as well as bond counsel fees and provide a cushion for the redevelopment commission, should it be necessary, said Jeff Cockerill, county attorney.

The interest rate for the bond is expected to be about 2.75 to 3 percent, and will last for the life of the Westside Tax Increment Financing District, which is set to expire in 2024.

Redevelopment commissioner Doug Duncan said he would like to see a lease between the commission and Ivy Tech be in place by the commission’s October meeting.

“This is a wonderful thing for the community,” Duncan said of the project. “But I don’t want to depend on just good intentions.”

TIF districts use property taxes generated by new construction in their areas to pay for infrastructure or debts incurred by infrastructure improvements. The idea is the districts use public funding to subsidize redevelopment and improvements that will serve a particular area.

There are three TIF districts in Monroe County: the Westside TIF, the State Road 46 TIF and the Fullerton Pike TIF.

In total, $14.6 million in projects have been completed in the Westside TIF, and another $9.5 million are planned, not including the Pain Building purchase. Most of these projects include road, bridge and other infrastructure projects, though TIF dollars have provided things such as training for local businesses and a fire truck for the Ellettsville Fire Department.

“At this point, we’re looking at 10 years on the horizon,” commission president Barry Lessow said. “These things are all pieces.”

The Westside TIF is estimated to raise $28 million by 2024. The Westside TIF district raised about $1.1 million in revenues in 2012, according to its final report for the year.

Ivy Tech Bloomington Chancellor John Whikehart provided the redevelopment commission with testimony from businesses in the area, which were unanimously in favor of the project, redevelopment commissioner Don Moore said.

Though as a state college Ivy Tech does not pay property taxes, redevelopment commissioners say investing in Ivy Tech is an investment in the community.

Moore said he considered the project one of the biggest “bangs for the buck” that the county could invest in.

“This is the poster child project,” Duncan said, adding that some communities have mishandled TIF projects. “This is a great example of how TIFs work.”

In June, Whikehart asked for $1.6 million for purchase of the Pain Building. The total project will cost $3.6 million. Ivy Tech will pay for the renovation.

Ivy Tech’s growth has outpaced its enrollment projections by about 1,800 students, and the Pain Building will be used to house health sciences classes.

This is not the first time the redevelopment commission approved money for Ivy Tech. A $5 million bond was approved in 2007 to help build the Ivy Tech’s Indiana Center for the Life Sciences, a building that serves as a training facility for local students and local life-sciences employees.

In the case of the Center for Life Sciences, Ivy Tech owns the land the building sits on, and rents it to the redevelopment commission. The redevelopment commission then rents both the land and the building, which it owns, to the college for $1 a year.

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