TIF funds dedicated to pay portion of Jasper River Centre debt

Sourced from Dubois County Free Press

As the River Centre plans continue to develop, the City of Jasper will take several steps to assist in the funding.

Friday morning, the Jasper Redevelopment Commission approved a development agreement and a resolution pledging tax increment finance (TIF) funds to help pay back $13 million in bonds for the River Centre project. The funds will come from the tax increment finance allocation area that encompasses the project.

According to estimates, the property tax funds that the project will potentially generate could be used to pay cover about 40 percent bonds with the rest coming from the developer.

The developer will be responsible for the payments on the bond and the city has stated, no current tax money will be used. The bonds will be partially paid by the increased property value that will come from the improved property.

According to the development agreement approved by the commission, 95 percent of the TIF revenue will go to pay the bonds and 5 percent will remain in the allocation unit encompassing the River Centre from 2020 to 2039. The amount equals about $5 million, according to an early assessment of the project completed by Umbaugh Associates.

According to City Attorney Renee Kabrick, the $13 million in bonds will be used to finance the construction of the River Centre, the proposed hotel and any of the other aspects of the project.

During Friday’s meeting, Attorney Bill Kaiser, representing the developer River Centre, LLC, estimated the project was up to a $36 million investment.

“Once this development happens and we see a building and the revenue and the tenants, you are going to see a much different assessment,” Kaiser said referring to the amount of tax revenue the project will generate.

During the meeting, commission members reiterated that the city is assuming no risk in the issuance of the bonds.

The next step; the Jasper Economic Development Commission will hold a public hearing at 8 a.m. Monday, December 19 in the Jasper City Hall, 610 Main Street. The hearing will cover declaring the area/project an economic development project and the issuance of the economic development revenue bonds for up to $13 million and their impact on similar facilities already in operation in the city.

The process will have two more steps before returning to the redevelopment commission for them to allocate the TIF funds to the project.

The Jasper Plan Commission will have an opportunity to be presented the project. They won’t have to take any action, but according to Kabrick, the commission has to review the project. The plan commission has seen the project and recommended the rezoning through the process of creating the planned unit development (PUD).

The Jasper Common Council’s role is to consider approving an ordinance to issue the bonds for the River Centre, LLC.

Then, the Jasper Redevelopment Commission will officially dedicate the TIF funds to the project.

As a recap, TIF funds are property tax funds that come from improved properties in a TIF district. The River Centre project will incorporate the former Jasper Cabinet factory building into a multi-use development that will include commercial and housing opportunities.

Along with the renovation of the factory, several other projects will be completed around the property including improvements to the railroad, an extension of Second Street, two parking lots as well as an extension of the Riverwalk, river cleanup and the creation of an attraction along the Patoka River.

The city and River Centre, LLC are also working out a lease agreement for portion of the city-owned property purchased through the flood mitigation program. This property will be used to create parking for the area.

River Centre, LLC, plans to close on the purchase of the property by the end of December. Once the agreement is approved and bonds issued, the work is obligated to begin within 60 days, weather permitting.