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Arts Alliance unveils funding plan

By JEFF BROWN - jbrown@shelbynews.com

Lindi Conover was hired approximately one year ago to lead the Shelby Arts Alliance. 

As year two begins for Conover, the alliance’s executive director, she is working with Shelbyville Plan Commission director Adam Rude on an idea to spark funding for local arts projects. The duo discussed a potential plan Friday with the Tax Abatement Committee to instill a payment plan to businesses receiving tax abatements in Shelbyville.

“This is something we’ve been talking about in house for 6 or 7 years now,” explained Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun at the meeting.

The plan is similar to what is used in other communities around Indiana.

“I think it’s a reasonable ask that these companies that come to the city and ask for some help also turn that back to our efforts in public art,” said Rude.

A predetermined percentage of the total tax abatement, somewhere around one percent or more, would be allocated to the Arts Alliance.

A spreadsheet was presented to the mayor and the Tax Abatement Committee that detailed financial projections. A company that would save $4.4 million in taxes over 10 years would pay $44,000 on a one percent contribution, $66,000 on a 1.5 percent contribution, and $88,000 on a two percent contribution.

“I don’t think a buy-in from local industry is a problem,” said DeBaun. 

The money allocated to the Arts Alliance would help in obtaining grants, according to Conover, because many grants ask for matching funds.

The Tax Abatement Committee believed the program could have a positive impact on the community. The committee asked for a formal proposal to be presented to the committee at a later date.

Prior to the presentation by Conover and Rude Friday morning at City Hall, the committee heard a tax abatement request from Plastic Moldings Company, LLC, located at 1451 S. Miller Avenue in Shelbyville.

The company is adding a 2,300-square-foot expansion to its existing facility that will house additional employees. The company also will add $1.2 million in new manufacturing equipment and is expected to add 16 new employees which would up its personnel number to near 150.

The 10-year tax abatement request was unanimously approved by the committee to send on the City Council.