County approves tax exemption for broadband services

Brookville, IN — During the Franklin County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, the Commissioners voted 3-0 in favor of an ordinance for a Designation of Infrastructure Development Zone within Franklin County.

This Infrastructure Development Zone will allow a property tax exemption on the new broadband personal property scheduled to be installed by Southeastern Indiana REMC. This would last for the life of the property installed. And the ordinance allows similar, competing companies the same exemption during the 6 year period allowed for installation.

The vote was postponed from last week’s meeting as to research the amount of possible tax revenue lost from this ordinance. The Commissioners noted that it was difficult to calculate the revenue lost from the personal property but estimated that it would be roughly less than $30,000.

John Palmer with the Franklin County Economic Development stated, “anything that can improve broadband in the county, we should take advantage.” Palmer continued, “they aren’t asking us to give anything to them and they are spending millions of dollars of their own money to do this.”

Sara Duffy, a representative from the Franklin County School Board read a statement from the school board stating that it is opposed to the ordinance as written as it believes that it would be giving up taxes that belong to the school. The school board suggested a PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) of $4,000 per year up to a maximum of $150,000 to be paid to the school by each utility whose taxes would be exempt.

Commissioner Tom Wilson stated, “the chances of development coming because of having it will far overcome any loss that the school would take on revenue from personal property taxes.”