By Ann Marie Shambaugh
MetroNet will soon bring its high-speed internet services to town.
The Zionsville Town Council approved a plan Feb. 6 to issue $1.5 million in Indiana Economic Development Revenue Bonds and use tax increment financing to help make it financially feasible for Evansville-based company to install fiber optic lines throughout town.
The fiber optic lines will comprise the TIF area, and additional taxes generated through their use will be used to repay the bond. Richard Starkey, the town’s bond counsel, said that he’s helped create similar TIF areas in several other municipalities and that it leaves the town with almost zero risk.
“There is no liability on the town’s part. The TIF that’s collected from their property taxes will be used to pay the bond back,” he said. “In the event they didn’t do what they said they’re going to do, and they didn’t pay the taxes, they wouldn’t get paid back on the bond.”
MetroNet spokesman Steve Biggerstaff said that if the council did not approve the bond, it would be a “deal breaker.”
Councilor Kevin Spees cast the lone vote against the bond issuance. He questioned why MetroNet was singled out for financial incentives when other high-speed internet providers already in town were not. Spees and councilor Susana Suarez voted against the resolution creating the TIF area.
MetroNet offers internet, television and other communication services through fiber optic technology. Its representatives have been working with town officials for approximately a year to work out a plan to fund the capital intensive installation of an estimated 300 to 400 miles of fiber optic lines throughout Zionsville.