Due to Saline County Board members' questions about the legality of spending tax increment finance district money on a city road project the board voted to rescind its February agreement with the city to allow the city to use TIF funds to build a road on county property. Without further action, the Leberman Drive/Ford Street expansion appears to have been killed by this move.
"I would love this project to go through," said Carey Harbison, board chairman, during Thursday night's meeting. "But if the TIF has ended, we believe we can't do it."
The county board acted on the belief that the TIF ended earlier this spring. The city has operated on the belief the deadline to spend or distribute TIF money is Dec. 31, 2014, according to discussions at a March 28 meeting of the TIF Joint Review Board.
Danny Gibbs of the building committee said, "I guess this is going to be one horse town." Gibbs is a strong supporter of the Leberman Drive/Ford Street expansion and sees it as an important step in bringing industry and jobs to Harrisburg.
If the project is truly dead because of this move by the Saline County Board then the TIF moneys will go to the various taxing bodies, such as the schools. Board members Gary Siebert who is also the Eldorado school superintendent and Molly Wilson Dearing who is also a Harrisburg school board member support returning the money to the schools.
The city will hold a public hearing for citizen comments on the TIF District No. 1 8 a.m. April 30 at Harrisburg City Hall.
The council will make a decision regarding the TIF spending at its regular meeting 6 p.m. May 2.
In other action the board approved the treasurers report from Danny Ragan and heard Ragan state that "We are going to be down $125,000 by the end of the month.
We have to watch what we are doing. Look at the claims and see where the money is going."
Ragan said the county will have to take money out of savings accounts to cover the difference.
The board appointed Myron Cole to a two year reappointment to the Ethics Commission to end May 24, 2015. They also reappointed Tiffany Kielhorn to a two year term on the Wabash Area Development Board.
Follow Kane at twitter.com/tkane_DR