SHELBYVILLE – The Shelbyville City Council tabled a request for more than $23,000 in grant funds from the Shelby County Historical Society on Tuesday night.
The historical society asked for the grant from the city’s tax increment financing district funds to match its own efforts to raise money for repairs to the more than century-old former jail that serves as the society’s headquarters.
The city’s TIF Committee had recommended the city not approve the grant because the not-for-profit organization pays no taxes on the building. The council rejected that recommendation on a 3-2 vote but also didn’t vote to approve the use of TIF funds.
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“In my mind, this (approving the grant) goes against what the TIF is for,” said council member Gib Smart. “TIF is supposed to increase property values, which lead to increased property taxes and economic growth.”
“The historical society is a noble endeavor, but this is not what the TIF is to be used for,” council member Brent Fogleman said in agreement.
The historical society said the building needs a new roof and brickwork. A new central air conditioning unit was installed earlier this summer. Shelbyville Township has already donated to the project, and other townships and the Shelby County Board are being asked for funds.
Council member Bill Shoaff said even if the city couldn’t provide TIF funds for the renovation, the city needed to find a way to help.
“That building houses all the history of Shelbyville and Shelby County,” he said. “We need to find a way to give them some assistance.”