PRINCETON — Gibson County may be first in Indiana to establish a tax increment finance district to help underwrite the cost of providing infrastructure for new housing development.

The Haubstadt Town Council and Gibson County Commissioners endorsed the proposal presented by Gibson County Economic Development Corporation this week. GCEDC spokesman Tami Muckerheide said Tuesday that the proposal will also go to South Gibson School Corporation, Union Township officials and the Gibson County Redevelopment for approval.

If created, the TIF district would encompass a subdivision of single-family homes proposed by developer Kenny Reinbrecht in Union Township off County Road 925 South, west of U.S. 41. Muckerheide said the subdivision would be developed in two phases, ultimately creating 71 homes.

"Housing is so crucial, we need is so badly in Gibson County," she told commissioners Tuesday morning. Muckerheide said legislation regulating creation of TIF districts was changed in 2019 to allow the new use to stimulate housing development. "As far as we know, this is the first in Indiana."

Creating the TIF district for the property would allow a portion of the property taxes collected on improvements to the real estate to be captured for funding infrastructure (utilities) needed to develop the ground. "Reinbrecht Homes will finance bonds for the infrastructure. It's self-funded, so if they don't build the homes, then the contractor loses the investment," County Attorney Jim McDonald explained. "If they build the homes, it pays for itself."

McDonald said the county won't lose revenue or be obligated in any financing for the development.

Commissioners unanimously approved the proposal, which goes on to the redevelopment board.

The county's ongoing efforts to stimulate housing development have involved the use of TIF revenue from the Patoka-Union Township TIF district (Toyota property) to help pay for part of the infrastructure involved in apartment complexes in Fort Branch and Princeton and in a subdivision on the west side of Princeton off White Church Road.

McDonald said creating a new TIF district for the latest proposed development won't affect the Patoka-Union Township TIF district. He and Muckerheide confirmed that the maximum life of the new TIF district would be 20 years.

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