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An idea for Redevelopment Commission

The Marion Redevelopment Commission has a good problem in that it has $216,936.50 that it doesn’t quite know what to do with.

The Commission came into possession of properties as a result of its local economic development adventures. Those properties have been sold off and have given the Commission, whose job it is to oversee tax increment financing in the city, a healthy bank account.

“I don’t know that I’ve seen the account that large,” Ed Merchant, vice president of the Commission said. “It’s a great problem to have, I guess, but typically what do we do with those funds?”

If the Commission is really trying to find something on which to spend their money, we, as many in the city surely do, have a suggestion about what can be done. TIF takes away money from Marion city government and Marion Community Schools to pay off TIF bonds. Could the Commission maybe give some of it back?

This could be helpful to schools, which recently discovered its property tax revenues came up shorter than expected. It could also be helpful to the Marion Police Department, which is trying to combat a spike in violent crime.

If the contribution needs to be justified as an economic development expenditure, what could be more important to our ability to attract long-term growth than the proper funding of our schools and winning the ongoing battle against illicit drugs and murder? We think our priorities need to get straight. Public funding to recruit college graduates to live in Grant County isn’t as important as making sure our police department is adequately staffed and equipped and also making sure our local schools are producing students who can themselves become college graduates. We think a lot of college graduates living here would agree.

These are the keys to making a better community. One that others will choose to move into and raise their families. A place that isn’t foolish with its dollars but takes care of that which is most important.

We should make Marion strong by investing in what is the foundation of any city: the education and safety it provides for its citizens.