BROWNSBURG — Tax increment financing (TIF) district funding and school corporation budgetary concerns took center stage at a joint meeting between the Brownsburg Community School Corporation (BCSC) school board and the town council here Monday.
The town has two TIF districts: Wynne Farms and the north beltway. Last year, because of future anticipated needs, the town’s redevelopment commission voted not to approve any TIF district money from the north beltway area, which is undeveloped at this point. The Wynne Farms district already has TIF district money going each year toward other entities including schools and libraries.
BCSC officials had hoped to have the Brownsburg Redevelopment Commission (RDC) guarantee a fixed amount of money from the north beltway TIF district, but the RDC did not go that route.
BCSC Superintendent Dr. Jim Snapp said heavy funding cuts have left the schools needing additional resources.
“In 2009, our capitol projects fund generated a little over $7 million,” he said. “We’re looking at a $4.7 million reduction the last four years in the budget for capitol projects.”
Snapp cited the town’s property tax caps implemented in 2010 as one of the reasons for that reduction.
Town Manager Grant Kleinhenz said the use of TIF funds will be instrumental in building undeveloped portions of Brownsburg that could lead to more than $1 billion in assessed value coming via the Ronald Reagan Parkway area.
“There’s no infrastructure,” Kleinhenz said of that area. “The county will put in sanitary sewer services that will help increase that development. We had talked about it being in the neighborhood of a $1 billion assessed value producer and, just as a comparison, currently in the town of Brownsburg we’re just over the billion. That’d be a great increase, doubling our assessed value.
“Last December, the RDC embarked upon increasing the boundaries of our TIF district to include the Ronald Reagan Parkway. That includes $108 million in projects. We understand this isn’t Candy Land. You can’t just get what you want. But we put these projects together with the understanding that in the next 10 to 15 years, we believe that the billion to billion and a half can be a reality.”
Kleinhenz listed upcoming projects that make use of current TIF funds as work on Northfield Drive, connecting Hornaday Road to State Road 267, expansion of S.R. 267, and renovations to make the intersection of Odell Street safer.
Kleinhenz said that in 2012, the pass through was $29 million in assessed value. The RDC voted in July to reduce that down to $14.5 million. It was estimated that the BCSC lost about $300,000 from that.
“We’re getting to a point where it’s very painful,” acting school board president Mike Runyon said. “We’d all love to go back to our budget from 2009, but unfortunately that’s not going to happen.”
BCSC officials requested a fixed amount of money from the north beltway TIF so they could budget accordingly.
RDC President Rob Kendall said he understands the plight of the schools and other taxing entities, but the committee has to weigh other issues as well. He said the RDC will make a decision regarding TIF funds in a May for the following year.
“I think you’ll find that the business owners, homeowners, and the private sector have felt a lot more pain than any government entities have,” Kendall said. “How do they do it? They find a way. I think it’s important to remember that whenever we talk about pain, we talk about the private sector and homeowners and people across the community feeling it too.”
Snapp said BCSC has continued to see improvements across the board, in spite of budget cuts.
“Brownsburg this past year ranked fifth in the state in ISTEP scores,” he said. “That’s the highest performance ever for Brownsburg. Our graduation rate over the last four years has jumped to 96.4 percent.
“The TIF funds come into play particularly in the transportation levy. From 2009 to 2013, the total levy lost was about $3.2 million. Because of some good planning, we have a rainy day fund of about $8 million. We expect to have to dip into that fund.”
For updates on additional meetings, visit the website at brownsburg.org.