TIPTON – The city of Tipton will move forward with expanding its business park after receiving financial support from the county after nearly three months of deliberation.
The Tipton County commissioners Tuesday unanimously approved contributing $300,000 out of their economic development income tax [EDIT] fund to help the city purchase 60 acres of land just west of the Northgate Business Park for $12,000 an acre for a total of $720,000. The city will pay the remaining $420,000 to the land’s owner Edgar Schulenburg.
Tipton Mayor Tom Dolezal has pitched the expansion as a way to attract more business investment to the city, arguing many companies won’t consider moving into the city unless there’s available land. The city’s business park currently has little available land for new business or expansion of current businesses.
And while there’s currently no business waiting on the sidelines to fill all or part of the soon-to-be acquired land, Dolezal and Commissioner Dennis Henderson are “optimistic” the city can find new tenants.
“We just put a proposal out for a business that would require several acres, and it could go either direction,” Henderson said. “I was on a call yesterday with someone that has a lot of interest. It gives us a lot of hope. We don’t know anything yet, but the one proposal has been sent.”
The mayor originally approached the commissioners with his request in July. The wait between the request and a final decision centered around spending concerns of the EDIT fund.
The commissioners are currently overseeing a project to build a new facility at one of the county’s landfill to deal with a leaching problem that is expected to cost $800,000. It will largely be paid out of the county’s EDIT fund – $565,000 this year and the rest next year.
That, and the county’s fight for a full interchange at Division Road and U.S. 31 that may require some upfront cash and borrowing plan to secure, had brought forth questions of whether or not it was the right time to help the city expand its business park.
But $225,000 originally allocated to go toward the Community Crossing Match Grant for road paving was moved to cover part of the landfill project cost, alleviating financial concerns regarding the city’s request.
The $225,000 has never been used, Commissioner Jim Mullins explained, because the county’s highway department has instead allocated any matching fund for the matching grant in its yearly budget.
The commissioners vote on Tuesday comes with the caveat that the city keeps the county informed and give it some say in what the 60 acres is used for – a caveat Dolezal agreed to.
“I look forward to working with you and the new commissioners,” Dolezal said. “I’m dedicated to making this a true partnership.”