PRINCETON — Gibson County Commissioners Tuesday endorsed a $6.6 million request for use of Patoka-Union Twp. Tax Increment Finance District revenue to improve traffic infrastructure serving Toyota Indiana plant’s expected influx of 400 new workers next year.
The request moves to the Gibson County Redevelopment Commission, which might meet in special session to consider the project prior to their planned Jan. 7 regular session.
Transportation engineer Scott Wilkinson of Beam, Longest and Neff told commissioners, who were first presented with the request last week, that the addition of a dedicated one-mile southbound travel lane for the county-owned Tulip Tree Drive, as well as modifications to a parking lot at the Toyota plant site, will provide some long-term safety improvements.
About $3.9 million to $4 million of the total project cost is earmarked for adding the new lane to the county road.
About 6,300 people work at the Toyota plant, and a $600 million expansion planned to increase production capacity from about 412,000 vehicles per year in 2017 to more than 450,000 vehicles per year, will increase traffic to and from the facility.
Since breaking ground in 1996, Toyota has invested about $4.3 billion at the site. Most of the valuation captured within the Patoka-Union Twp. TIF district comes from taxes paid by Toyota.
The prospective timeline for the project, if the redevelopment commission approves use of TIF revenue, would target construction to begin in April and substantial completion by Toyota’s July plant shut-down.
Gibson County Economic Development Corporation CEO/President Paul Waters told commissioners GCEDC's board is "highly in favor" of the project.
In other business, commissioners approved a memorandum of understanding with Indiana Department of Transportation regarding an unofficial detour route for local traffic using CR850S to CR850W and CR1000S during construction on Ind. 65 south of Owensville.
Commissioners noted that signage will be required to alert motorists to an old railroad tunnel and narrow turning radius on the county roads. The work on Ind. 65 is scheduled this summer. The county documents the condition of the county roads prior to the project and the condition following completion of the project so that any damage can be reimbursed.
The board also approved an inter-local agreement with Gibson County Solid Waste Management District, committing to split up to half the cost of a proposed $850,000 landfill closure project. The county owns the 149.3 acres of old landfill property and the solid waste district owns 6.9 acres at the site of the county compost yard. The goal is to correct elevation of the property with added soil that would eventually eliminate Indiana Department of Environmental Management's post-closure monitoring requirements.
Members unanimously approved a declaratory resolution to be submitted to the State Board of Accounts, confirming that projects which received TIF revenue in 2015 met statutory requirements for use of TIF revenue. The resolution was approved by the Gibson County Redevelopment Commission Monday night.
Commissioners took a request from Gibson County Emergency Management Agency Director Terry Hedges to replace a vehicle under advisement. Commissioner Gerald Bledsoe said he wants to talk about what departments under the commissioners' budget are allowed take-home vehicles.
Commissioners meet in regular session again at 6 p.m. Dec. 18 at the North Annex meeting chambers.