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December 7, 2012

Bonding approval takes the next step for Jeffersonville police headquarters

Contract extension for Hamburg Pike granted reluctantly

JEFFERSONVILLE — Two hurdles have been cleared to allow the city to use Tax Increment Finance funds to pay for the construction of a new police station along 10th Street.

The city’s Redevelopment Commission and the Planning Commission amended the bond financing plan for the new station, which will allow the city to use TIF money to fund the project.

“The city is in the early stages of [constructing] a new police station headquarters up on 10th Street,” said City Attorney Les Merkley. “The crux of this is to include the police station in those development plans so we can move forward with this,” he said of the plan he presented to the planning commission at a special meeting Tuesday.

But the first step toward approval was cleared at last week’s redevelopment commission meeting.

Following a presentation by Umbaugh and Associates, an Indianapolis-based accounting firm, about how much bond capacity the city has remaining in its TIF districts, the redevelopment commission approved the amendments to two bond resolutions. The resolutions were for the city’s two largest TIFs, the Falls Landing and Inner City Roads TIFs.

“These additions are just amendments to what you did in 2011 for these projects,” said Buddy Downs, bond counsel with Ice Miller, an Indianapolis law firm. “The size of the bond issues are smaller.”

For the Falls Landing TIF, the total amount is $3.5 million and for the Inner City Roads TIF, the bond amendment totaled $9.5 million.

Both resolutions were approved 4-0, with Commission Member James Lake not in attendance.

The same amendment to each fund was unanimously approved by the planing commission Tuesday. The board had already approved the zoning for the plan to construct a new police station along 10th Street.

Despite adding the provisions to use TIF money to pay for the construction of a new police station, Merkley explained the money to construct a new headquarters will come from the Local Option Income Tax fund. He said the city will pledge TIF funds to pay for the project in the form of a loan, but the loan payments, in actuality, will be made using LOIT money instead of TIF dollars.

Either approval does not mean that the bonds will be sought. Downs explained that approving the amendments were the next step required in order to move forward with the securing the bonds if the commission decides to do so.

“Essentially, what they’re designed to do is say we can do the police station in the future, they don’t commit you to issue bonds, all they say is this starts the process ... so the police station is in the plans,” he said. “This is just a necessary step to get to the point where we go through the process [to issue bonds].”

Merkley said the next step will be to seek approval from the city council and then it will go back to the redevelopment commission for final approval before the funds could be used.

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