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Fed review finds Indiana highway land deals compliant

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A review published Wednesday found the prices that Indiana paid to buy land for the Interstate 69 extension and other federally funded highway projects met federal standards.

The Federal Highway Administration report found Indiana Department of Transportation records were adequate and sufficient to support prices paid to landowners and that the state records substantially complied with federal record-keeping guidelines.

In four cases, INDOT records were missing some documents that the agency eventually provided the review team comprised of FHA real estate staff based in Washington, D.C., Indiana, Georgia and Texas and members of INDOT's own real estate staff.

The review covered 50 land purchases over the last three years for projects that included the Interstate 69 extension to Evansville, the Hoosier Heartland Corridor in northern Indiana and the U.S. 31 expansion in Hamilton County north of Indianapolis.

The review began after The Indianapolis Star reported last year that INDOT had offered $7 million for 32 properties that appraisers had valued at $3.34 million.

INDOT already has taken steps to address issues identified during the review, the state agency said, "by supplementing parcel files with additional documentation, initiating an update of INDOT's Real Estate Manuals and planning to offer comprehensive right-of-way training for staff and consultants."

INDOT said in a news release that, "The report recommends that appraisers review any counter offers and additional written notices be provided to property owners."

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  1. I am not by any means judging whether this is a good or bad project. It's pretty simple, the developers are not showing a hardship or need for this economic incentive. It is a vacant field, the easiest for development, and the developer already has the money to invest $26 million for construction. If they can afford that, they can afford to pay property taxes just like the rest of the residents do. As well, an average of $15/hour is an absolute joke in terms of economic development. Get in high paying jobs and maybe there's a different story. But that's the problem with this ask, it is speculative and users are just not known.

  2. Shouldn't this be a museum

  3. I don't have a problem with higher taxes, since it is obvious that our city is not adequately funded. And Ballard doesn't want to admit it, but he has increased taxes indirectly by 1) selling assets and spending the money, 2) letting now private entities increase user fees which were previously capped, 3) by spending reserves, and 4) by heavy dependence on TIFs. At the end, these are all indirect tax increases since someone will eventually have to pay for them. It's mathematics. You put property tax caps ("tax cut"), but you don't cut expenditures (justifiably so), so you increase taxes indirectly.

  4. Marijuana is the safest natural drug grown. Addiction is never physical. Marijuana health benefits are far more reaching then synthesized drugs. Abbott, Lilly, and the thousands of others create poisons and label them as medication. There is no current manufactured drug on the market that does not pose immediate and long term threat to the human anatomy. Certainly the potency of marijuana has increased by hybrids and growing techniques. However, Alcohol has been proven to destroy more families, relationships, cause more deaths and injuries in addition to the damage done to the body. Many confrontations such as domestic violence and other crimes can be attributed to alcohol. The criminal activities and injustices that surround marijuana exists because it is illegal in much of the world. If legalized throughout the world you would see a dramatic decrease in such activities and a savings to many countries for legal prosecutions, incarceration etc in regards to marijuana. It indeed can create wealth for the government by collecting taxes, creating jobs, etc.... I personally do not partake. I do hope it is legalized throughout the world.

  5. Build the resevoir. If built this will provide jobs and a reason to visit Anderson. The city needs to do something to differentiate itself from other cities in the area. Kudos to people with vision that are backing this project.

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