Use of TIF funds for grant match OK’d
By Mark Murdock | KPC News - The Star
DeKalb County’s attempt to secure a federal road grant received a boost Thursday.
The DeKalb County Redevelopment Commission passed a resolution giving the county $300,000 from the American Heritage Village Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district to help pay the local share in an 80-20 matching grant.
The grant would be used to reconstruct a 1.6-mile stretch of C.R. 56 between C.R. 17 and C.R. 327.
The road bears traffic from 4,200 vehicles a day on average and is in poor condition. C.R. 56 acts as an extension of S.R. 205, connecting Auburn and Garrett with Columbia City and U.S. 30. It is also an emergency detour for Interstate 69.
DeKalb County Commissioners President Don Grogg presented the commissioners’ funding plan for the matching money at Thursday’s meeting. Another $300,000 would come from Local Income Tax Economic Development (LITED) funds and $100,000 would come out of the County Highway Department budget for 2021.
“We feel this is a very crucial highway to be upgraded,” Grogg said.
The project’s total cost is about $3.07 million, making the county’s 20 percent share about $614,000. The county will also need money to purchase nearly 4 acres of land to make the right of way wider. The road currently is very narrow with two 10-foot lanes.
The funding plan leaves enough margin for land acquisition, which commissioners are estimating at about $40,000.
County Highway Superintendent Ben Parker has been working on the application for the grant, which is due Nov. 22. The grant recipients are expected to be announced in late February, with the funds awarded for fiscal 2022 (July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022).
The funding plan still needs the OK of the County Council, which will hold a special meeting to discuss it Monday at 8:30 a.m in the courthouse at Auburn. The regular county commissioners meeting will follow at 9:30.
The Redevelopment Commission supported the county’s intention to apply for the grant and agreed that the road needs to be rebuilt.
“It’s what TIF money was developed for in the first place, to spur future economic growth and to have the infrastructure in place to accommodate that ahead of time, instead of reacting after the fact,” board member Bill Hohler said.
The project has letters of support from Northeastern Indiana Regional Coordinating Council Executive Director Dan Avery and Garrett Mayor Todd Fiandt.
County Attorney Jim McCanna presented a summary of work done by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership’s Vision 2020 task force that named the improvement of C.R. 56 a priority for the area.
He also presented findings of the Northeast Regional Logistics Council, which named improvements for S.R. 205 — including C.R. 56 — as having the fifth-highest priority among projects in the region.
Not all of the match money would be needed right away. A cost of $275,000 for preliminary engineering would be due in April. The county would be reimbursed all but $55,000, its 20 percent share.
The county would have to put up the entire cost of right-of-way engineering, $195,000, in January 2020. All but $39,000 would be reimbursed. The county’s share would come out of the LITED funds.
Money for construction costs ($2,312,474) and construction inspection ($287,500) in September 2021 would not need to be paid up front. The county will be billed up to its matching shares as work is done ($462,494 for construction costs, $57,500 for inspection).
Reimbursements would be paid as payments for work done on the projects is made. Avery told commissioners last week that reimbursements usually have a turnaround of 30-45 days after a bill is paid.