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The applicant shall provide economic development staff with an annual report (Compliance with Statement of Benefits, Form CF-1) showing the extent to which there has been compliance with the Statement of Benefits (SB-1) form. The CF-1 form must be filed with the Allen County Auditor and economic development division staff according to the filing schedule required by I.C. 6-1.1-12.1-5.1 and I.C. 6-1.1-12.1-5.6.
(A) Economic development division staff shall analyze all CF-1 forms and compile a summary sheet and findings of fact to present to the Council from which a determination of substantial compliance or non-compliance will be made.
(B) Economic development division staff shall use the following review procedure of CF-1 forms.
(1) The first step in the review process compares the CF-1 form to the statement of benefits (SB-1) form approved by Council to find whether the project substantially complies with the SB-1. Substantial compliance shall be defined as:
(a) Creating or retaining at least 75% of the total number of full-time and/or part-time jobs delineated in the approved statement of benefits (SB-1) form; and/or
(b) Creating or retaining at least 75% of the total salaries delineated in the approved statement of benefits (SB-1) form, within the timeframe projected in the applicant's approved statement of benefits (SB-1) form.
(2) If the project is deemed not to be in substantial compliance in the first step, the staff shall investigate further whether the property owner made a reasonable effort to substantially comply and whether the applicant's failure to substantially comply was caused by factors beyond their control. Staff will:
(a) Examine whether the investment in real estate or personal property equals or exceeds 75% of the investment delineated in the approved statement of benefits (SB-1) form within the projected timeframe; and
(b) Contact the person listed as the applicant contact person on the CF-1 form to seek an explanation as to why the project is not in substantial compliance. The staff may request the explanation be provided in writing. If the staff finds, based on the second step, that the applicant made a reasonable effort to substantially comply and that the applicant's failure to substantially comply was caused by factors beyond the control of the applicant, the project will be considered in substantial compliance for purposes of the CF-1 form. If the staff finds, based on the second step, that the applicant did not make a reasonable effort substantially comply and that its failure to substantially comply was not caused by factors beyond the applicant's control, the project will be considered not in substantial compliance for purposes of the CF-1 form. Staff will provide a report summarizing the staff's findings to the Council from which the Council can make a determination as to whether the project should or should not be deemed to be in substantial compliance.
(C) The Council will review the CF-1 forms using the following criteria:
(a) Number of employees retained (jobs retained); and
(b) Number of additional employees (jobs created).
(a) Salaries of employees retained (salaries retained); and
(b) Salaries of additional employees (salaries created).
(3) Investment (values of proposed project):
(a) Real estate: cost of real estate improvements; and
(b) Personal property: cost of manufacturing, research and development, logistical distribution and information technology equipment.
(D) State law provides that within 45 days after an applicant files a CF-1 form, the Council shall determine whether the applicant has substantially complied with the statement of benefits (SB-1) form. Those forms that are found by the staff not to be in substantial compliance will be brought to the attention of the Council first for the Council to determine what further action is necessary. However, since the 45- day time period only limits the Council's ability to pursue terminating a deduction, those that are found to be in compliance will be submitted for formal approval with a final report following the end of the filing period.
(E) If an applicant fails to file a CF-1 form by the filing deadline, fails to file a CF-1 form that provides sufficient information (as determined by staff) to determine substantial compliance, or the circumstances are such that the staff has information indicating that the information provided on the CF-1 form may be inaccurate, the staff will make a reasonable effort to contact the applicant to obtain a complete and accurate CF-1 form. If the applicant still fails to provide a complete and accurate CF-1 form, then the staff will bring the failure to the attention of the Council for the Council to determine whether the project should be deemed not to be in substantial compliance. The staff, working with the Allen County Auditor's Office, will monitor property owners who have receive a SB-1 approval from the Council and who are eligible to receive a tax abatement deduction, to facilitate the timely and accurate submission of CF-1 forms.
(F) The staff's determination that the project fails to substantially comply with a statement of benefits does not necessarily mean that the abatement will be rescinded. If the Council, based on the information provided by the staff, determines that a project is not in substantial compliance, the staff will send official notification to the applicant and schedule a hearing with the Council pursuant to I.C. 6-1.1-12.1-5.9. The hearing will be held within 30 days after the date on which the notice is mailed.
(G) Based on the evidence presented at the hearing by the applicant and other interested parties, the Council shall determine whether the applicant has made reasonable efforts to substantially comply with the statement of benefits and whether any failure to substantially comply was caused by factors beyond the control of the applicant. If the Council determines that the applicant has not made reasonable efforts to comply with the statement of benefits, the Council shall adopt a resolution terminating the applicant's deduction under the authority of I.C. 6-1.1-12.1-5.9(c).
(H) An applicant that has received a deduction for real property or personal property and:
(1) Ceases operations at the facility for which the deduction was granted; and
(2) Is found to have intentionally provided false information concerning plans to continue operations at the facility, may be required to repay to the Allen County Treasurer, under the authority of I.C. 6-1.1-12.1-12, those property taxes that were deducted.
(Ord. G-20-01, passed 3-3-2020)