Members of the LaGrange County Redevelopment Corporation (RDC) voted Friday morning to expand its membership from five to seven members. There are other changes in the board as a result of making the switch to the new statute.
Under the old five-member board, a quorum was three and two members (a majority of those present) could conduct business. Under the new law, a quorum will be four and a majority vote of the membership (four) will be required to conduct business.
The county commissioners passed an ordinance enabling the change at their April 2 meeting. Under the old rules, membership of the board was made up of two persons appointed by the county council (including one councilman) and three appointed by the commissioners (including one commissioner). Each of the elected bodies will appoint an additional citizen member to the EDC.
Current membership is Bob Bond, Councilman Fred Brown, Commissioner George Bachman, Meredith Cameron, and Greg Johnson. The new appointments, to serve until the end of this year, will need to be made prior to the May 18 meeting of the EDC.
EDC membership discussed possible uses of funds currently held in the various TIF (tax incremental finance) districts. The Fawn River Crossing District is the largest, with about $511,000 currently on hand. Last year the income for this district was $248,000.
Suggestions included adding some signage to the area noting that land is available and possibly improving the Michiana Event Center (MEC) facility by providing lighting at the entrance and improving the parking lot. Some discussion was held regarding providing a “back” entrance to the Fawn River property which will require a bridge (estimated at $1,000,000) across the Fawn River. Another suggestion was to start paying back the approximate $7,500,000 loan due the LaGrange County Major Moves Fund, which was used for water and sewer services to the area.
The Bloomfield Township TIF is located east of LaGrange and is bordered on the north and south by CR 25N and US 20 and on the east by CR 200E. This district has $105,000 on hand and had collections of $40,000 last year.
The Shipshewana TIF had $46,000 at the start of the year and has since paid out $44,000. This district is committed to paying all of its income to KZ, Inc. and Westview School Corporation for the extension of sewer lines to both of the entities. Income for this district was $103,000 in 2011.
Collections for 2012 will be passed on to the different districts after the taxes are collected.