All of Columbus to be open for revitalization tax breaks

The entire city of Columbus would be an economic revitalization area under a plan considered by City Council this week. The change would be part of an effort to consider a tax break for a company to bring affordable high-speed internet across the city.

Hoosier Networks, through Meridiam, plans to build a fiber optic network across the city with an investment of about $28 million. The network will be for residential and business customers and will include an emphasis on providing high-speed internet to low-income residents, subsidized by the federal government.

The company will be asking for a tax break which would see it pay only 5 percent of the normal property taxes on the investment for 20 years.

But because this is a citywide project, the company asked the city to declare all of Columbus an economic revitalization area. Going forward, other companies buying new equipment and making investments would be able to ask for tax breaks without requesting a patchwork of revitalization areas around the community.

City Council approved the initial resolution at its meeting this week and will be scheduled to hold a public hearing on the change, and to consider the  final resolution and the tax abatement request at its meeting in two weeks.