The Delphi Redevelopment Commission (D-RDC), which captures property tax revenue in Delphi decided at its June 16 meeting to pursue a plan developed by a focus group and presented by Delphi Mayor Anita Werling, which will likely lead to the formation of one Residential Tax Incremental Financing (R-TIF) District in three non-contiguous areas, mostly in Delphi. The D-RDC would also capture tax revenue for the R-TIF.

Attending the meeting were Delphi Community School Corporation (DCSC) Board members Mike Priest and Tim Strasser as well as D-RDC members Joe Mayfield, Sandy Flora, Lisa Delaney and Gayle Conner. Member Randy Strasser was not present. In addition, DCSC’s new superintendent Ann-Marie Circle was present on Zoom.

Werling asked for a vote to support a timeline of events that will lead to the formal formation of the new R-TIF district. She said without an increase in housing, DCSC will suffer. Werling advised Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc. is developing a vision plan for the proposed R-TIF district to draw industry to the community by virtue of housing projects. She said the vision plan is being paid for in part by the D-RDC, from the Delphi Economic Development Income Tax (EDIT) and also the Delphi Water and Wastewater funds.

Carroll County Economic Development Corp. Executive Director Jake Adams said if the property on the south side of Delphi, which is due to go to auction this fall, is purchased by a farmer, the assessment will stay at the 2021 rate and there will be no property tax for the D-RDC to capture.

D-RDC member Gayle Conner, who did not vote in favor to move forward with the R-TIF, said she thinks the D-RDC does not know enough about the RTIF to proceed. She said after researching the matter, she learned it will be two years after the property becomes a Residential Tax Incremental Financing District before there is revenue to capture, and that is only if there is residential development.

“I don’t see the big hurry to do this,” Conner told the group. “We need to take some time. We need to learn.”

Werling said one reason to move forward now is that RTIF will draw developers.

Conner said what is being considered is a 25-year decision based on the sale of a property. She indicated the impact on the DCSC should be further studied. Conner also said finances “are a concern” for her.

A motion to move forward with the R-TIF plan passed with Conner’s no vote.

Conner said there was a total of $1,925 spent from the DRDC fund but the president did not sign the accounts payable voucher (APV) to authorize the expenditure. She said upon further investigation, she discovered the bookkeeper in the Delphi Clerk’s Office signed to authorize payment. Conner said she checked with the Indiana State Board of Accounts and found out that, not only could the bookkeeper not sign the APV (unless she was present at the meeting where it was approved), the Redevelopment Commission is the body to approve all expenditures.

In an email to Conner from the SBOA, it was stated, “…our position is the President alone couldn’t approve an invoice/APV/claim that would be paid from the D-RDC funds.”

Conner suggested the group adopt a formal protocol or procedure for allocating funds, which they did.

The SBOA email continued to state TIF allocation money can be disbursed only after the Redevelopment Commission allows the expenditure and approves the disbursement. The SBOA further advised TIF allocation money cannot be spent for payment for a financial advisor’s appearance at a meeting, which happened a little more than a month ago. The email said, “We are not aware of any authority for the Mayor to determine which funds and appropriations are used to make payments related to D-RDC expenses.”

Conner said she was advised by the SBOA that they will take exception to this situation in the next formal audit.

It was noted by the SBOA that City Clerk Leanne Aldrich should keep a separate ledger for D-RDC funds. Conner said the SBOA also expects the Commission to receive a financial report at each meeting.

Other business

Doug Zimpfer, Rosemary Speaker and Suzanne Gardiner spoke about the need for funding for the 17-acre facility on which is located the Schoenstatt Shrine. A request for infrastructure was also made. It was stated that there are plans to build a shelter house, a welcome center and perhaps erect another shrine on the property. The current Schoenstatt Shrine is part of the trails system in Delphi and roughly 1,300 visitors used the facilities in 2020 and 2021. The request was taken under advisement.
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