By Amanda Browning Daily News
Greensburg Daily News
---- — GREENSBURG — The Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Board met Wednesday evening at City Hall for their regular monthly meeting.
The main topic was recent developments in the Veteran’s Way project. The proposed project involves the building of a new road to connect old U.S. 421 to Freeland Road. The primary issue of discussion was approving an engineering firm to handle the first phase of the Veteran’s Way project. The selected engineering firm would be responsible for the design and planning of phase one of the project.
The process began with 17 engineering firms submitting their qualifications to the selection committee for review. The 17 firms were reduced to six through a rigorous scoring system that assigned values to certain aspects of the firms’ qualifications and experience. The top six firms were interviewed by the committee.
American Structure Point, of Indianapolis, received the highest score throughout the process and was the board’s recommendation for the proposed job. Approval was sought to allow City Engineer Gary Murray to begin negotiating the terms of the project with the firm.
Board member Rick Fayette questioned why the board was unable to negotiate with more than one firm, expressing his concern over the lack of information on the cost of the job. Board member Shannon McLeod explained that the price is not allowed to be a qualifying factor of the selection process when choosing an engineer for the TIF project. Instead, the scores for each firm were based on qualifications and experience. However, there is a database of projects with similar elements to which the Veteran’s Way project can be compared. American Structure Point scored the highest due to their extensive experience with commercial development and associated projects.
The motion to allow Gary Murray to negotiate the terms of the project was approved by the TIF board. If no agreement on the terms can be reached, the board will move on to negotiations with the next-highest-scoring firm on the list.
After a firm is officially tied to the project and designs are made and approved by the TIF board, the project will move on to the City Council for approval. If approved, Veteran’s Way will become an official project, instead of a proposed project. The board also voted to allow Murray to enter into negotiations with the owners of parcels 9 and 10, land necessary to the Veteran’s Way project.
It was announced that the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) would be accepting applications November 1 for new projects to begin in 2017 and 2018. INDOT has not put out a call for new projects in the last four years.
The board sought approval for Gary Murray to begin submitting applications for phase two of the Veteran’s Way project. Several board members noted that the process is a long and extensive one and it was wise to begin the applying as early as possible.
Ken Dornich, TIF board president and long-term member, announced that Wednesday’s meeting would be his last.
Mayor Gary Herbert honored Dornich for his years of service with a plaque from himself and the City Council.
Just before the end of the meeting, Dornich stated that there was intentionally no public comments section on the agenda for the meeting. He said any member of the public wishing to voice their concerns may contact the TIF board president to have themselves added to the agenda for the next meeting.
Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004