New rules aim to keep tax revenue flowing

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Officials in Fishers and Noblesville have passed ordinances to ensure that high-profile commercial property in their communities stays in the hands of taxpayers.

Fishers has banned so-called “institutional” uses on undeveloped land along Interstate 69. Noblesville allows churches and other not-for-profits to locate anywhere, but those choosing sites within certain economic development areas must agree to make payments in lieu of taxes.

The measures are intended to protect the communities’ commercial tax bases, which are increasingly important as municipalities cope with the financial realities of the state’s property-tax caps.

Other cities in Indianapolis’ northern suburbs apply similar policies on a case-by-case basis. Noblesville and Fishers formalized theirs to send the message that they’re serious about economic development.

“We have spent a lot of money to essentially turn bean and cornfields into developable commercial property,” said Noblesville city attorney Mike Howard, and officials want the resulting projects to produce jobs—and tax revenue.

Both communities have plenty of land that not-for-profits can occupy without any restrictions.

So what do you make of the new rules?

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