By Keith Knepp
MILFORD — During its regular monthly meeting on Monday morning, the Milford Redevelopment Commission had the opportunity to hear from two representatives of the Kosciusko County Economic Development Corporation.
First, under the agenda tab of “old business,” KEDCo’s Suzie Light addressed the council on an incentive process for new companies looking to open shop in Kosciusko County. Light explained to the commissioners how streamlining and standardizing the process for prospective businesses would benefit not only the local municipalities such as Milford, but it would also help the business.
The proposed incentive program would be a partnership between town and KEDCo and would “establish a methodology that would say ‘this is how we do business in Kosciusko County.'” according to Light.
In a unanimous vote, the commission agreed to recommend to Milford Town Council to adopt the plan with clarification.
Secondly, Greg Fitzloff of KEDCo presented an overview of a residential tax increment fund, better known as a TIF, that would address the county’s need for residential housing to provide for the ever-growing workforce in the county.
“Several years ago, we identified the need for residential housing,” said Fitzloff. “We look at it as an economic development project, a capital investment.”
By creating a TIF district to provide for single-family residential housing, not only would communities benefit through an increased tax base, but prospective businesses looking to come to Kosciusko County would be able to see the potential for a strong workforce.
Additionally, Fitzloff noted, the school systems would benefit not only through an increased tax base, but also for the per-student financial allocation that they receive from the state for each student enrolled in the corporation.
“What we’re really talking about is infrastructure development,” Fitzloff said. “Setting up a TIF district is not a fast process. This would only be for new housing developments.”
He added that if the land to be developed was not already part of the town, it would have to be annexed. It was emphasized that any development would not be for low-income housing, but rather for single-family residences.
Milford Clerk Tricia Gall was asked by the commission to work with KEDCo to determine if Milford would be eligible for a residential TIF district.
“It’s good for the town, it’s good for the developers,” concluded Fitzloff.