Berne poised to take county lead

    The city of Berne is poised to take the lead in establishing Adams County's first enhanced tax abatement program — a move that would grant qualifying firms who are making a substantial investment in the community up to five years of freedom from all real estate and personal property tax liability.
    Berne city council members on Monday spent nearly an hour following their regular meeting in a work session to hear details of a proposed "super abatement" program modeled after a similar policy now in place in Fort Wayne and Allen County.
    Tax abatement – a tool used by local government to entice new businesses or retain existing jobs – exempts all or a portion of a company’s increased assessed value on a new investment from property taxes. Abatements in Adams County traditionally have been granted on a sliding scale — starting with 100 percent abatement during the first year and gradually declining over the life of the agreement. New legislation approved by the Indiana General Assembly a few years ago allows communities to grant up to 100 percent tax abatements for a maximum of 10 years.
    Allen County has adopted a "super abatement" program that caps the maximum length of a 100 percent tax immunity at five years. City Attorney Jim Beitler urged the Berne council to consider a similar model.
    Further details in today's print and e-editions.