Council declares unincorporated Bartholomew County an economic revitalization area, in preparation of considering a tax abatement

COLUMBUS, Ind. — The Bartholomew County Council has approved declaring all unincorporated areas of Bartholomew County an economic revitalization area.

It’s the first step required to provide a 20-year, 95% tax abatement to Hoosier Networks, LLC, owned by Meridiam Infrastructure North America Corp. In return, Hoosier Networks will create a fiber-to-home network that reaches more than 80% of the county’s residences, Bartholomew County Broadband Initiative Committee Chairman Tony London said.

While the deal also calls for Bartholomew County government providing $4 million from federal COVID-19 relief funds, Meridiam officials plan to invest about $33 million of their own money into the project, said London, who is also a county commissioner.

At the request of council member Matt Miller, the council did not discuss a requested tax abatement Tuesday because of a 10-day mandatory waiting period after the revitalization area is approved before tax relief can be requested.

The revitalization area request will have a second and final vote in September. If approved at that time, the council will begin discussing abatements, council President Greg Duke said.

For the complete story, see Thursday’s Republic.