Members of the Senate Committee on Local Government voted 8-1 today in favor of legislation authored by Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) that will provide additional oversight and improve the transparency of redevelopment commissions in Indiana.
“Redevelopment commissions are important tools for economic development, but they shouldn’t be able to operate under veils of secrecy,” Kenley said. “There have been too many instances across the state of these commissions spending large sums of taxpayer money without proper public notice or proper review and approval by elected officials. My goal with this law is to make redevelopment commissions as accountable to the public as other governmental entities.”
Senate Bill 25 would require redevelopment commissions to gain approval by legislative or fiscal bodies of local units of government before using public funds, except for the acquisition of real property and where the payments are for three years or less or the purchase price is less than five million dollars.
Kenley’s legislation also expands oversight of redevelopment commissions by:
- Review of annual budgets by the legislative body of the government unit
- Subject to audit by the State Board of Accounts
- Follow the public meeting and public records law
- Require the commission to report to the legislative body of the government unit at a public meeting all information supporting the action of commission proposals to take regarding the sale, transfer or other disposition of property
Redevelopment commissions are quasi-agencies established by local units of government to assist in addressing conditions of blight in a community. The creation of a redevelopment commission comes with a special taxing unit and allows a property tax levy to be used for redevelopment purposes.
SB 25 now heads to the Senate for further action. Hoosiers can get a full, updated copy of the legislation online by visiting www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2012/PDF/IN/IN0025.1.pdf.