Public Works pulls spending plan for west-side street projects

Tax money dispute

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The city’s nickname “Naptown” at one time had a less-than-desirable meaning when describing Indianapolis.

The feeling from the nickname implying a sleepy, boring community still exists on the west side. Money exists for the area to make improvements and, according to west-side resident Jonathon Howe, city leaders are trying to take the cash and spend it somewhere else.

A special tax collection district — called a tax-increment financing district, or TIF — captures newly-generated property taxes within a designated area to be used on projects in that area.

Howe said, “We have been neglected for so long. There is probably a page of 20 things we could do with this TIF that would affect everyday people’s lives that live here and use this, and would help our quality of life.”

A few days ago, Howe found out the city had plans for $1.4 million of the taxes collected in the TIF called the Harding Street Allocation area: paving roads that are just barely in the designated area.

City-County Councilor Jefferson Shreve represents the area. The Republican said the use of the money is legal but questionable.

“It is not a piggy bank from which the administration is going to pull some dollars from here and some dollars from here to fix something else here. We need to be true to the intent because a lot of work goes into the creation of the TIFs and the underlying need that made them necessary.” Shreve said.

The proposal to use money from the Harding Street Allocation area has been pulled at least for now.

This explanation came from the office of Mayor Joe Hogsett:

The three projects were a part of the 4-year infrastructure plan approved unanimously by the council last year – the plan included $12 million in TIF funded infrastructure projects. “

“It’s my understanding that DPW (Department of Public Works) director Dan Parker contacted Councilor Shreve and community leaders yesterday to inform them that DPW was pulling the Harding St. and Downtown TIF allocation areas resolutions from today’s MDC agenda. Going forward, DPW and DMD plan to sit down with Councilor Shreve to review the proposed projects and determine appropriate funding sources.

“The three projects affected are:

“West St. (Wisconsin to Bluff): paid out of Harding St. allocation area

“West St. (Bluff to Troy): paid out of Harding St. allocation area

“Morris St. (streetscape design/engineering): paid out of Downtown allocation area

“They hope to be able to reintroduce both resolutions at an upcoming MDC (Metropolitan Development Commission) meeting moving forward.”

Taylor Schaffer, deputy chief of staff-communications for the Office of Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett