Are Gibson County tax funds being used appropriately? - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Are Gibson County tax funds being used appropriately?

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GIBSON CO., IN (WFIE) -

When it comes to creating jobs in Gibson County there's a solid plan in place. An economic development plan is funded primarily through taxes collected from Toyota.

The rules are pretty simple. Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, is a fund made of up of collected taxes. TIF money can only be used for economic development, which includes job growth.

It was money from that TIF fund that allowed Vuteq to announce an expansion, last week, and add nearly 100 jobs to their workforce. But an ear-mark from the TIF fund made by commissioners this week is being questioned.

Money collected from TMMI into the TIF fund must be, by Indiana law, used in Patoka and Union townships.

But the equipment that would be used with this recent proposal could be used any where in the county.

"There's always a need for these type of vehicles," county commissioner Gerald Bledsoe said.

Bledsoe says the county needs ambulances, squad cars and dump trucks. And he wants funding intended to support economic development projects, to foot the bill.

The TIF funds are intended to stay within a non-descript area around TMMI.
 
"The size of Toyota, we always need an ambulance available," Bledsoe said.

But officials at Toyota say they have their own on-site medical facility and rarely use the county EMS service.

That's not to say there isn't a need for new ambulances in the county. Some vehicles are more than ten years old.

"Normally in the past with a diesel we were able to get five years out of them, but nowadays there's just so much computer work and other problems that they're just not lasting that long," Gibson EMS Director Dan Alvey said.

Funding for new emergency equipment should come from the county's general fund. But county officials don't want to dip into their own funding, if TIF funding is available.  

County commissioners say this plan is in the very early stages. The TIF board, made up of residents appointed by the commissioners, will hold a public hearing to explain where and how money is being used. That meeting date has not been set, but we will continue to keep you updated.

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