While the topic at hand was whether or not to grant a 10-year tax abatement on the planned 100,000 sq. ft. addition to the Aldi Indiana L.P. warehouse and distribution center in southeast Center Twp., at least one member of the Porter County Council grabbed the chance to speak against the concept of tax increment financing (TIF) allocation areas on Tuesday.
However, no TIF has been proposed for the Aldi warehouse, nor do the County Commissioners plan to put one at that location on the northwest corner of Division Rd. and Ind. 49.
“The infrastructure is already there. There is nothing there for us to TIF,” said Commissioner Nancy Adams, R-Center, from the floor.
Council members voted 4-1 in favor of the tax abatement request.
Member Sylvia Graham, D-At Large, said she believes that tax abatements are a good tool for economic development, but a recent financial report completed by Cender and Company on the TIF area being considered around Porter Hospital worried her.
The hospital was also granted a 10-year tax abatement by the Council and the County Redevelopment Commission is considering creation of a TIF area that would allow capture the tax abatement for infrastructure improvements or payment of bonds.
“We’re losing money to these TIF districts,” said Graham, who also has a seat on the RDC.
Other Council members sharing Graham’s view like Jim Polarek, R-4th, another RDC member, smiled when Aldi’s attorney Todd Leeth of Hoeppner Wagner & Evans rendered his opinion that TIFs and tax abatements “do not mix well together” and that they are “opposite concepts.”
“It’s not well advised. I don’t think that’s what economic development experts would recommend you do,” Leeth said.