By BRADEN LAMMERS
JEFFERSONVILLE — The first step to construct a new $11 million Jeffersonville Police Department station on 10th Street was approved Wednesday night.
The Jeffersonville Redevelopment Commission approved two resolutions that designate the city’s Inner City Road and Falls Landing Tax Increment Finance funds to back the bond being sought for the construction of the police station.
However, the redevelopment commission was not asked to pay for the new police station.
“The reason why it’s going through redevelopment is because it’s going to be a bond that’s going to be backed up with TIF dollars,” said Redevelopment Commission Attorney Les Merkley.
He explained that the city’s plan is to pay off the bond debt using public safety Local Option Income Tax funds. However, a state restriction will not allow the money to be pledged as the source of funds to repay the bond. As a result, the city, and subsequently the redevelopment commission had to approve the TIF money as the source of the bond’s repayment.
“No TIF dollars will be used to make the bond payments, unless for some reason LOIT would not be there,” Merkley said.
Financial reviews offered by the city and accounting firm Umbaugh and Associates show that the LOIT funds will be sufficient to cover the bond payments.
Brian Colton, adviser with Umbaugh and Associates, offered the repayment schedule for the bond. The total being sought to construct the police station equals $11 million, with a maximum annual bond payment of $800,000.
The 2013 disbursement of LOIT money to Jeffersonville is $2.2 million, leaving a $1.4 million remainder after the bond payments have been made.
“The only impact would be on our ability to bond further money ... in terms they would look at this as an obligation,” said City Controller Monica Harmon.
With the approval Wednesday night, Merkley offered a hopeful schedule on the construction of the project if a number of hurdles are cleared to seek the funding.
“This is the first step to begin the bond process,” he said. “If everything goes to plan we will close on the bond April 25. And we should break ground on the police station, if that happens, around the first of June.”
Before the bond on a new police station could be entertained, the city had to go through a multistep approval process to amend the economic development plan for the TIF district.
Bond resolutions — for the Falls Landing TIF to total $3.5 million, and for the Inner City Roads TIF, the bond amendment totaled $9.5 million — were amended by the commission in December and January to include the new police station and the city’s stormwater conveyance system.
Merkley explained the process to amend the economic development plan started with the redevelopment commission, required approval by the planning commission and the city council, before coming back to the redevelopment commission for a final approval.
In addition to the resolutions for the police station, two additional resolutions were approved that included a list of projects that would be the first step in the aforementioned approval process.
“Just because there’s a project on this list that’s going to be in this plan, that does not mean the project’s going to occur,” Merkley said. “Even if the project’s on the list the commission is still going to have to appropriate the money.”
A list of 23 projects was originally presented to the redevelopment commissioners, but several changes were requested.
Commissioner James Lake offered his hesitations on including a project to construct Allison Brook Park and The Preserve — construction of a nature park planned between the Meadows and Kingsfield subdivisions.
After going through the project list one by one, two projects that are already ongoing were added to the amended economic development plan and only one was removed. The projects added to the list were for work ongoing along Hamburg Pike and for the ramp construction on the Big Four bicycle and pedestrian bridge.
The project removed was The Preserve, adding a total of 25 potential projects to the amended plan.