The Bloomington Redevelopment Commission approved almost $50,000 in funding for the IU Public Policy Institute to help recertify the city's 65-acre certified technology park.
The certified technology park is an area of land downtown that includes high-tech businesses in Bloomington, such as Dimension Mill — a nonprofit entrepreneurship center and coworking space. The technology park is able to take the sales tax and growth of payroll generated inside the park and use this money to support and develop the park, according to IU Public Policy Institute Director Tom Guevara.
The certifications, which allow the technology park to collect sales tax from its members and use it for projects, last four years. Bloomington is now applying for a level two certification, which allows them to continue collecting this revenue.
“The city is required to recertify or apply for certification, and if they do it in a timely manner, they’re also able to potentially collect even more incoming sales tax, which they tend to use to fund various projects in the technology park area,” Guevara said.
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Senate Bill 271 puts a lifetime cap of $5 million on taxes collected for technology parks like the one in Bloomington. Now that Bloomington has hit this cap, the technology park will be able to collect an additional $250,000 annually for investment back into the park.
“It’s sort of like doing your taxes,” Andrea Delarosa, the Assistant Director of Small Business Development for the City of Bloomington, said. “They already know how much money is within the park, we just have to prove it and then we get all of that back. This year is different because now it’s an analysis and an impact study to see how effective the tech park has been.”
Bloomington received a letter from the state at the end of July requesting the city report all information needed for recertification to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation by the end of September. Bloomington requested an extension of two-weeks, which was granted, according to Guevara.
Before the new deadline Oct. 13 the city needs to collect data on businesses within the technology park. The city will survey businesses, find out what type of business classification they have and record the number of employees and average wages. This information will be used to evaluate the performance of the technology park during the past three years.
Delarosa said the IU Public Policy Institute will help the city collect this data and report it to the IEDC before the deadline. The state also requires that a third party conduct an economic impact study and report of the area.
Guevara said while he does not know which projects the city of Bloomington will fund with the collected money, he believes IU faculty, staff innovators, startup businesses and students will benefit from advancements in the technology park.