Hundreds of thousands in change orders have been unanimously approved at the Sportsplex, Kube and Woodmar Demolition projects in the past 6 months.
November 19, 2019-As the School City of Hammond debates closing two high schools in order to deal with a budget shortfall, the Hammond Redevelopment Commission has approved hundreds of thousands of dollars in change orders over the past several months without any dissent. The majority, if not all, of the change orders were funded with Hammond property tax dollars that would have helped to fund the schools “but for” the underperforming tax increment finance districts. At the Sportsplex, the un-elected Redevelopment Commission approved $300,000 for a lounge. At the Kube, a private development located in Dowling Park, the Redevelopment Commission picked up the tab for the $1.1M parking lot. At the demolition site of the former Carson, Pirie, Scott and Co. the Commissioners approved change order after change order driving the price up month after month.
At a recent meeting, the Redevelopment Commission approved a change order in the amount of $27,500 to install 7 televisions and 2 bathroom lights. Commissioners questioned neither the expense nor why the two bathroom lights were not included in the original plans:
In past discussions, the Mayor and others have stated that TIF money does not affect the schools, we hope to foster a real discussion as to whether, and if so, to what extent, the Mayor’s TIF projects are taking money from the School City of Hammond.
If you have questions or comments regarding tax increment financing we would love to see them in the comments section. We will try to answer all questions with links to real information from the internet.