PHS appears set to OK Bureau-Putnam Enterprise Zone renewal

PRINCETON — While some area school boards might have second thoughts about renewing the Bureau-Putnam County Enterprise Zone, Princeton High School does not.

At Wednesday’s school board meeting, Superintendent Kirk Haring said there was no reason to not approve the resolution to renew the zone until 2031.

“It’s good for community development. …I think it’s a good thing — a win-win in the long term,” he said. “Obviously we don’t like to give up that tax money, but sometimes you have to do that to be able to succeed in the future.”

As previously reported in the BCR, the Enterprise Zone covers 12.5 square miles in both counties and could be expanded by 15. Incentives offered to industrial/commercial businesses within the zone include a 100 percent, 10-year property tax abatement on property improvements, a 6 to 6.25 percent local and state sales tax deduction on locally-purchased materials, and a “zone project only” 0.5 percent investment tax credit on qualified property/equipment investments.

Haring said the only impact the incentives have on school districts is the tax abatement on property values. In 2015, PHS abated more than $51,000.

Haring pointed out how Putnam County Schools have been greatly impacted by the tax abatement within the zone, due to the large corporations that took advantage of the incentives.

“The largest ones are in Putnam County. They have had a lot of abatement. Our portion is a lot small than their portion,” he said.

In 2015, Putnam County High School abated more than $1 million.

Board member Gary Hanna said if it was a new Enterprise Zone, it might be worth looking further into, but since the district has been under the zone for so long, he didn’t see a problem with renewing it.

All governing boards must approve renewal. The board plans to vote on the resolution at next month’s meeting, at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 26.

In other news, the board:

• Approved a lease agreement with Midwest Bus Sales for two new 2017 71-passenger buses for five…

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