The Big Issues
- Sen. Buck’s SB 556, won approval in the Senate Local Government Committee and cleared the Senate’s second reading hurdle earlier this week. The bill allows county commissioners to review and deny an annexation constituting more than 5% of a municipality’s assessed value. Further, a municipality cannot, in a single annexation or collectively, annex land constituting more than 15% of their assessed value in a calendar year without county commissioner review. Aim has tried to stress this provision’s unintended consequences for builders and developers. However, to date our concerns have been dismissed.
- It’s imperative municipal officials call, email or text their Senator, asking them to vote NO on SB 556! The bill could be called down as early as Monday afternoon, February 18.
- Language terminating annexation waivers older than 15 years and creating other scenarios whereby waivers are terminated or void, continues to proceed in HB 1427. The bill moved from the House Ways and Means Committee to the House floor, where action will take place in the coming week. And as we reported last week, Crawfordsville Senator Phil Boots’ anti-annexation bill, SB 94, which essentially ends involuntary annexation, cleared the Senate 36-13.
- Rep. Ed Clere authored HB 1625, which places extremely onerous requirements on cities and towns regarding the preparation of various fiscal analyses and housing studies.
- The bill requires that a community prepare a fiscal analysis if a unit’s proposed regulation may directly or indirectly increase or decrease the cost of housing in the county or municipality. Further, it requires every municipality to annually prepare: (1) a housing affordability report; and (2) a housing fee report. It requires the municipality to post the reports on the municipality’s web site and provides that a municipality may not impose any housing related fee that is not: (1) included in the fee report; or (2) posted on the municipality’s web site.
- HB 1625 was amended last week on second reading in the House and before it could be voted on during the third reading process it was remanded to second reading, where it was again amended and advanced to third reading. More information regarding the bill’s fiscal impact can be found here. Aim urges you to call your Representatives and let them know how bad this bill is for cities and towns. More information for your calls and emails can be found here.
USES OF TIF
- Rep. Ed Clere is pushing a bill that seeks to change how municipalities can use TIF to incentivize students to stay and attend an institute of higher learning in their community.
- HB 1596, which cleared the House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee and was recommitted to the Ways and Means Committee, attempts to target initiatives such as Jeffersonville’s Promise, a program that uses TIF dollars to give high school graduates the ability to attend Ivy Tech Community College.
- Rep. Clere and other supporters believed the bill was written narrowly enough to only target the kind of tuition assistance program underway in Jeffersonville, Aim believes it goes broader. Aim is working to protect the uses of TIF in Jeffersonville and around the state, especially those that embrace a people focused economy, where talent retention and population growth are at the fore. In an effort to work cooperatively and help address any concerns, Aim has provided what we see as acceptable amendment language to Ways and Means Chairman Todd Huston.
- Aim is working to urge all members of the Ways and Means Committee to improve this bill and protect the use of TIF for educational purposes and not limit a municipality’s ability to incentivize students to retain their degrees and stay in their communities.
RENTAL PROPERTY UTILITY BILLING
- HB 1347 is a bill filed by Greenwood Rep. Woody Burton. The bill, which attempts to prevent locals from holding landlords responsible for their tenants’ unpaid municipal utility bills, cleared the Utilities, Energy and Telecommunications Committee earlier this week.
- The bill prevents a municipal utility from requiring the property owner to pay for any unpaid water, gas or electric service provided to a tenant unless the property owner is contractually a part of the service agreement. A committee amendment to the bill requires a utility to provide notice to other lien holders within 20 days of a fee being 60 days delinquent to satisfy the concerns of other stakeholders.
- Aim has opposed this bill for taking away local decision making authority and forcing other property taxpayers to assume the burden for landlords who do not want to be responsible for their property. However, it does appear that municipalities retain the ability to pursue these utility related liens if both the property owner and tenant are receiving the utility bills, thus regularly informing the property owner of the account’s status.
- Sen. Victoria Spartz removed language from SB 549, converting school RDC positions from non-voting to voting positions and instead asked that the issue be considered by an interim study committee. We applaud Sen. Spartz for her willingness to look at the matter more thoroughly.
- HB 1166, authored by Rep. Cook of Cicero, the bill requires that the mayor or executive appoint a school board member as a voting member of the redevelopment commission. However, the mayor or executive will be an ex-officio member of the commission for the purpose of breaking ties, as the school board appointment adds a 4th executive appointment to the commission (to make it a 6-member commission).
- The bill is still awaiting a hearing in the House Ways and Means Committee, where it was recommitted following approval by the House Government and Regulatory Reform Committee. With the session nearing its halfway point, we are optimistic lawmakers are taking a measured approach on this critical issue.
AN AIM LEGISLATIVE MOMENT
“[House Bill 1625] will be eligible for a third reading vote in the house on Monday. This is the bill that we have talked about for the past few weeks that would require us to conduct a housing analysis for virtually any regulation, any ordinance that a city or town that has or makes valid or potential impact on the housing market. It’s a lot of bureaucracy, a lot of red tape that doesn’t accomplish anything to improve the housing situation in the state of Indiana.”
– Aim CEO Matt Greller
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