Activists opposed IEC expansion call projects economics flawed
SOUTH BEND, Ind. –Open Space and Agriculture Alliance released a financial report on the proposed Indiana Enterprise Center. The group said they’ve found some serious problems with the IEC’s current development model.
“This project has been a waste of taxpayer money and that the two TIF districts in New Carlisle have been used to divert property tax revenue away from taxing jurisdiction. Such as New Carlisle and all of the township,” Kathy Schuth, an OSAA member said.
Members of the Open Space and Agriculture Alliance released a report on the proposed Indiana Enterprise Center expansion, explaining what they say are risks within the project. They say to date, the St. Joseph County Re-development commission has spent close to $10 million on the project and that the county hasn’t yet made a return on that big investment. OSAA members say, the IEC’s model of using tax incentives like abatements and using “TIF” districts to attract industrial businesses from outside the area, is high-risk, too.
“This impacts our localities. And the TIF districts impact the local property tax rates,” Schuth said.
The Redevelopment Commission Executive Director said industrial development is not new to the area. He said he hasn’t read the report by OSAA yet, but says, it’ll be interesting to see how they came up with their findings.
“We will read it. Because it could provide some good data and impactful information. We have spent money, we spent money in a very reasonable manner. We believe that that money was well spent. And certainly been documented on how it's been spent and the reasons why it's been spent that way. We believe we are on a path and that path has been very orderly and very directed at this point,” Bill Schalliol said.
During the press conference, OSAA spoke about the non-financial costs this project will have, as well as some alternative plans that could be considered.
You can read the full report here