The Big Issues
- When IACT became Aim one of our goals was to take a longer-term view and pursue aggressive legislative changes that would foster innovation and incentivize greater collaboration among municipalities. The Investment Hubs proposal is one of our first big steps towards giving Hoosier communities the chance to excel among our national peers and advance our position in the race to attract talent.
- Investment Hubs are formed by neighboring cities, towns and counties who create a regional governance body and commit to implementing a local income tax or food and beverage tax for the purpose of funding capital projects within the Hub. Each member city, town or county must contribute half of the revenue raised to the regional pot to fund transformational capital projects. Members will keep the other half in their general funds for any authorized governmental purpose. Read this one-pager for more information on Investment Hubs.
- Led by Rep. Todd Huston, the Investment Hubs language was amended into HB 565 in the House Ways & Means Committee. The bill cleared the House 58-30. Unfortunately, the Hubs language is not expected to survive the conference committee process. However, the bill appears headed towards a study committee. We look forward to working with lawmakers on this ambitious plan to make Indiana’s cities and towns move competitive in today’s economy.
- This week Aim’s government efficiency bill, authored by Rep. Mike Karickhoff of Kokomo, and sponsored by Sen. John Ruckelshaus, cleared all legislative hurdles and became HEA 1116 – 2019.
- The new law creates efficiencies and eliminates red tape. In addition to the purchase of property and leasing of property, the law clarifies that selling property may also be discussed in executive session of the council. Further, there are provisions to allow locals to use electronic bidding processes, allow more flexibility in determining note repayment dates, and allow fiscal officers to directly appropriate funds received for damaged property.
- The bill’s original language was amended to take out provisions that would have removed partisan affiliation requirements for appointments to local boards of aviation and that would have eliminated residency requirements for city attorneys in small cities. Aim will work with lawmakers in the off-session to determine if their concerns can be addressed for future potential legislation.
WATER AND SEWER ROW
- SB 193, authored by Sen. Bohacek of LaPorte and sponsored by Rep. Jim Pressel, changes local decision making authority relative to water and sewer connections in the public right of way.
- Initially the bill allowed a property owner with a failing septic system to access the public right of way to connect to another unit’s water or sewer utility, and allows the unit that owns and operates the system being connected to waive the remonstrance waiver mandate for connecting. The bill now requires the property owner to have a permit and obtain the approval of the connecting utility.
- Sen. Pressel filed multiple amendments. The amendment that passed returned the bill to a form that is more workable for cities and towns. Many thanks to Aim members who reached out to their Representatives to vote against more harmful language. Sen. Bohacek is concurring on the bill and we expect it will be finalized early next week.
HOUSING TIF/ ARCHITECTURAL STANDARDS
- SB 566 permits a redevelopment commission to establish a tax increment financing program for residential housing. The bill was authored by Sen. Jeff Raatz and is being sponsored by Rep. Jim Pressel.
- During the process amendments were passed that established guardrails for communities pursuing this option. As amended, the bill requires redevelopment commissions to seek a DLGF circuit breaker impact analysis and school board approval prior to proceeding with a residential TIF program.
- The Senate author dissented on the bill. We are watching the bill for bad TIF language and also the cumbersome and costly language that existed in HB 1625. As a reminder, that bill required cities and towns to perform a housing analysis when any conceivable ordinance, resolution or policy is being considered that could potentially impact private sector local housing costs.
- Crawfordsville Sen. Phil Boots’ anti-annexation bill, SB 94, which essentially ended involuntary annexation when it cleared the Senate, was converted to an interim study committee by Rep. Kevin Mahan.
- Sen. Boots dissented on the bill and has been discussing his desire to bring back his original language. However, we believe the language mandating the matter be studied in the interim is what will pass as the session comes to an end.
- HB 1427, a Rep. Dan Leonard bill containing language that seeks to void current annexation waivers that are 15 years old or older, as well as void any current annexation waivers once they reach the 15 year mark, is expected to become law.
AN AIM LEGISLATIVE MOMENT
“Normally Aim doesn’t have a lot to worry about in the budget bill but we’re hearing some rumbling of something pretty serious. The Senate version of the budget came out this week and comes about $100 million short of what the Governor wanted with the Department of Child Services funding Some folks in the Senate made comments, some posture if you will, that the Governor should take that money out of a special transportation fund that was setup when the gas taxed was increased a couple of years ago. This is not where we would like to see this money come from.”
– Aim CEO Matt Greller
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