Column: These bathrooms don’t stink for taxpayers

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Commentary by Jeff Worrell

When I bring up tax increment financing with my friends (assuming I have any friends when I am talking TIF), I immediately get the eye roll and sarcastic comments. There is no denying TIF has gotten a bad rap through the years.

But as I was walking by the new restrooms on the Monon and appreciating how they came to be, it dawned on me that maybe, just maybe, these restrooms would be the perfect reason to shout, “Monon Bathrooms Don’t Stink for Taxpayers!”

Wait… what??

Let me explain.

What is TIF?

TIF allows a city to invest future commercial taxes from a completed project into the project now, to make it possible in the first place.

What does TIF have to do with Monon bathrooms?

A brand-new public bathroom just opened along the Monon Trail in City Center. This happened only because of TIF.

How?

The City of Carmel and developer Pedcor entered into a public/private partnership several years ago. In 2020, Pedcor’s total project ended up being larger than originally projected. This resulted in higher assessed values for the buildings, generating even more TIF, or commercial taxes, from the project. That led to excess revenue to fund a bond for the project, which is the responsibility of Pedcor, and no obligation falls to the taxpayers.

The developer invests the funds today, and if the assessed values when the buildings are built do not match the projections, meaning less taxes flow to repay the bonds than projected, the risk is on the developer. Neither the city nor the taxpayers make up that shortfall.

That gives visitors and residents a free restroom with a beautiful façade to match Hotel Carmichael, paid for by the increment generated by private investment in our community.

Now, that’s some TIF you don’t want to flush!

Jeff Worrell is a member of the Carmel City Council.


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