The Greene County Council approved a tax abatement for a piece of property within the Progress Pointe Subdivision in eastern Greene County Monday evening.
The subdivision includes seven plots of land immediately west of the Battery Innovation Center in Taylor Township. It was named an Economic Revitalization Area in March by the council, which sets the area up to make the land available for potential tax abatement.
Attorney Ryan McDonald said the abatement approved by the council, with a 5-1-1 vote, is for lot 10 where Crane Hotel Properties plans to start construction soon. Councilman Hal Harp abstained from the vote and Gregg Roudebush voted against it.
“This is a linear, decreasing tax abatement for 10 years,” McDonald explained.
The goal, he explained, is to bring in the business and hopefully inspire other businesses to build within the subdivision, which sits within a TIF (Tax Increment Finance) District. In addition, the hotel will be creating several new jobs and will offer a place for Crane employees and visitors to stay, rather than making the trip to nearby Bloomington.
With the area already designated as a Economic Revitalization Area, McDonald said the Greene County Redevelopment Authority hopes to provide incentives to future developers, which could mean bringing in even more jobs to the area.
“Sleepy Hollow will be going head to head with this new hotel, but we aren’t helping them. I have a real problem with telling business A, ‘Here’s a break’ but not business B,” Roudebush stressed.
McDonald added any entity had the opportunity to build in the area with a prospective tax abatement, but Crane Hotel Properties was the one who had the funding available to make the move.
“The abatement is part of the development plan. When a business wants to move in, they ask, ‘What promises do I have?’” McDonald said.
Councilman Hal Harp said he believes the abatement is well worth the investment, especially with the overall hopes of drawing in new business to the area.
With the tax abatement part of the hotel’s plan to get construction started, councilman Joe Huntington noted without the abatement, 20 new jobs to the area are at stake.
Council president Jerry Frye said he understands Roudebush’s concern, but on the other hand the county has to start somewhere with the development of Progress Pointe.
“If we don’t give the abatement to this property, we may not have it (business). That’s revenue we didn’t have,” Frye stressed
Councilman Jonas Uland asked if the county has a policy in place which sets the tax abatement scheduled. McDonald said there was no specific policy, but the decreasing abatement had been effective for the county in the past.
“There is not a set scale, but this has been a convenient measure for the county,” McDonald explained. “If the property is worth zero dollars now and you give someone the incentive to come in and build a $10 million, that’s money you would not have otherwise had.”
McDonald added it is important to give the highest of the tax break in the beginning because that is when businesses have the most invested into the project.
Once the abatement is effective, the entity will provide an annual report to show its compliance, including the value of the property, number of employees and annual sales, McDonald noted.
“At the end of the 10 years, we are hoping to have restaurants and other businesses out there (at Progress Pointe),” McDonald added.
The goal is for construction to start on Crane Hotel Properties in August.