Five-year CEDIT plan outlined for the city of Huntington

February 15th, 2016

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Five-year CEDIT plan outlined for the city of Huntington

Jonathan Pitman

Huntington has seen a glimpse of the mayor’s plan for county economic development income tax (CEDIT) funds for the next five years.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the Huntington City Common Council a resolution was passed on first reading 6-1 outlining how CEDIT funds will be used for certain projects within the city of Huntington. Councilman Paul Pike, R-Dist. 2, voted no.

Mayor Brooks Fetters said that CEDIT is a broad range of dollars that can used to promote economic development.

Indiana code requires the city to adopt a capital improvement plan for those CEDIT dollars, according to the resolution.

According to the plan outlined in the resolution, the CEDIT funds will be used to address sanitary sewer and storm improvements, downtown and neighborhood revitalizations, Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, parks, trails, greenways and quality of life, as well as industrial economic development projects and industrial park development.

In the resolution, an estimated $1.5 million of CEDIT funding is planned for industrial economic development projects. In addition, another $1 million is estimated for the development of an industrial park.

“In the plan, a large chunk has been devoted toward developing new industrial park space, which I think is a No. 1 priority going into my second term,” Fetters said.

He also elaborated that there are opportunities for economic incentives and economic development to help attract jobs and expand jobs with the local industrial base.

In terms of the cost for these projects, Fetters stressed the whole goal would be to see returns.

“We have metrics that we use for calculating how quickly any CEDIT grant for a corporate expansion or attraction,” he said. “If there are 100 new jobs at a certain level or salary, it is pretty easy to calculate how much increase you have in returning on your CEDIT dollars.”

Overall, he said he would like to continue supporting businesses in town. He said he would also like to attract and attain talent and expand jobs in the area.

An estimated $350,000 is set aside for downtown and neighborhood revitalization, which would introduce pedestrian-friendly streetscapes and possible green infrastructure, as well as “financial investments which support businesses and neighborhoods,” according to the resolution.

“The goal there would be to inspire people to remain in Huntington to enjoy life here and to reinvest in their homes and make their properties more valuable,” Fetters said.

An estimated $900,000 is set aside in the resolution for parks, trails, greenways and quality of life.

“These would be dollars that could be leveraged with the Regional Cities Initiative for improving our parks, neighborhoods, trails and greenways,” he said. “It’s all about making the city more attractive.”

The resolution also set aside an estimated total cost of $300,000 for making capital improvements to the city’s wastewater treatment plant, storm drainage and sanitary sewer systems in order to remain in compliance with its Long-Term Control Plan.

An estimated $425,000 was also set aside in the resolution for funding the services ofHuntington County Economic Development.

About $100,000 of CEDIT funding is estimated for Americans with Disabilities Act compliance as well as about $100,000 for annexation, according to the resolution.

Not everyone was completely satisfied with the CEDIT plan, however. Pike said that he voted no to the agreement for a couple of reasons.

“First of all, the resolution has a lot of money associated with it. I am not sure if it covers more of the wants or more of the needs of the city of Huntington,” Pike said in an email. “Secondly, I feel that some of the language in the resolution was open-ended and not specific enough for me to vote to spend all that money.”