By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. — The City Council on Thursday approved selling up to $6 million in taxable bonds so money will be available for other economic development projects like Greenville Technologies Inc. and Hy-Pro Filtration.
Economic development officials were able to lure both companies to Anderson last year in part because of cash incentives the city was able to provide the firms to build here.
Star Financial Bank agreed to buy the bonds at an interest rate of 4.2 percent, said Greg Winkler, interim economic development director. The bonds will be paid off over 12 years from property tax revenue generated by both GTI and Hy-Pro because they are part of the city consolidated Tax Increment Financing District.
TIF districts are created so that property taxes from new commercial, industrial and manufacturing businesses are captured and spent on infrastructure improvements within the district. Those improvements are then used as an economic development tool to attract more businesses to the city.
In the case of GTI, the city provided $3.25 million to help the company build its 150,000 square-foot auto-parts manufacturing plant at the Flagship Enterprise Center. The company’s initial planned investment was $21.4 million, with the creation of 425 jobs. Winkler said the company is on track to exceed those targets after less than a year of operation, and is already talking about expanding the plant.
Hy-Pro, which broke ground in in early May, plans to invest about $10.5 million in a new 122,000-square-foot headquarters. The facility will include space for manufacturing and warehouse operations. The city provided the company, which moved here from Fishers, with a $1.9 million incentive package.
In both cases, the companies were required to meet certain investment targets using their own money before they were eligible to draw on funds made available by the city.
By selling the bonds, Winkler said the Anderson Redevelopment Commission will have as much money available for new investment as it did before the GTI and Hy-Pro projects.
“This is the kind of financing process that most communities are not able to do,” Winkler said, adding that the city has a competitive advantage over other communities because it has money available to attract new investment opportunities.
“Anything we can do to help the city is great,” said Councilman Art Pepelea, R-District 5. “We don’t have GM anymore.”
Council President David Eicks, D-At Large, agreed.
He said making sure that Anderson has money available for redevelopment projects is important to making the city is competitive and can quickly take advantage of economic development opportunities that arise.
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School's out, but members of Anderson High School business teacher Debra Berry's marketing class had one more assignment to complete Thursday: Appearing before the Anderson City Council to discuss an open-air mall they'd like to see developed between Ninth and 14th streets, and from Jackson to Main streets downtown. The students proposed building the shopping venue if Mounds Mall has to be demolished if Mounds Lake Reservoir is ever built. Members of the council seemed impressed with the thought-provoking idea, and thanked the students for their interest in promoting a better city.