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Tuesday morning Dubois Strong representatives with the City of Jasper hosted an Economic Development Roundtable at the Center for Technology, Innovation & Manufacturing facility on the VUJC campus.

This was a question-driven discussion with 4 panelists: Matt Eckerle-Principal at H.J. Umbaugh & Associates, Richard Starkey-A Partner at Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Susan
Vaughn-Southwest Region Director at Indiana Economic Development Corporation, and Patrick Conner, P.E- Research Manager at Purdue University.

Eckerle spoke about the property tax abatement and how it can serve as a flexible tool to target specific industries and developments to create growth. He also discussed that each community varies in criteria needed to be granted an abatement such as employment-referring to various categories such as employee benefits, payroll, etc., investment amounts, nature of the investment, other community benefits, among other criteria.

Starkey provided an overview of information regarding the eligibility for tax abatements as it pertains to Indiana law. Property which is eligible applies to new buildings that are non-residential and non-retail, improvements to existing buildings, certain vacant buildings, among others. Based on Starkey’s information packet it also describes that in contrast property that is not eligible for tax abatement include land as well as a variety of certain facilities.

Regarding the usage of vacant buildings, Vaughn elaborates on the involvement Jasper has with the industrial Recovery Tax Credit which is known as DINO tax credits.

Vaughn explains that the DINO credits serve to re-purpose old manufacturing facilities that are frequently vacant or abandon and in result are underutilized. The other two projects she referred to were the housing projects, 1 which includes the Jasper Office Furniture in plans to be affordable housing and the Jasper Wood Products Manufacturing Facility being turned into affordable senior housing creating about 130-140 new housing units. This is a total of $5 million dollars; $3.5 million dollars Jasper Cultural Center and over $1.4 million dollars for the two housing projects collectively.

Conner provided insight on infrastructure significance as it pertains to incorporate the flow of economic growth.

The discussion tied into topics from the other panelists as they discuss the procedures as far as establishing projects regarding vacant buildings and if projects such as the Jasper Cultural Center were to become a reality, investments on roads is also imperative to allow easier access to the newly developed facilities for the investment into the city’s growth.

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