WARSAW – Passage of two resolutions supporting two residential TIF districts – the final step in the establishment process – apparently puts Warsaw as one of the first in Indiana to do so.
The redevelopment commission’s final approval on Monday, Dec. 16, follows support from the city plan commission, city council and Warsaw Community Schools Corp., and creates districts that encompass Harrison Elementary on the city’s north side and Eisenhower Elementary on the south side.
Much like a traditional tax increment finance district used commonly for economic development, the residential version is a newly designated opportunity made available by the state in hopes of giving towns new tools to stimulate residential development within the districts.
The city-controlled districts can now capture new property tax revenues in the districts and use it in ways to promote residential growth. The money could be used to help developers with infrastructure needs or used in other ways to entice development.
City Plan Director Jeremy Skinner said he believes the city is among the first to establish a residential district in the state. Exactly how many communities establish residential TIF districts will likely be more clear after the first of the year.
The city was eager to get moving before the end of the year because housing statistics used for the application process are more favorable than what is forecasted in the future.
The need for more affordable housing has emerged as one of the top priorities heard during the municipal election and has been an issue the city has focused on for several years.
“This is truly brand new legislation and we’re taking advantage as soon as we possibly can for the betterment of our community and the schools – everybody,” said Redevelopment Commission Board President Tim Meyer.
Skinner said they want to target growth in both districts, but Eisenhower – where there is more land available – has been slower to develop housing.
“By being able to expand and provide more housing opportunities in those districts, we will impact the schools positively and negatively,” Skinner said. “Positively, being we’re putting more students in the school, but negatively in that there is a cost associated with the students for providing them with the facilities that they need.”
“I feel confident now that we have a good plan to move forward,” he said.
Two representatives of Warsaw Schools – Superintendent Dr. David Hoffert and School Board President Heather Reichenbach – attended the meeting and spoke in support of the new effort.
Skinner said the new districts also allow towns and schools to work more closely on other projects such as infrastructure and even workforce development initiatives.