Councillors agree with Angie’s List proposal for $18.5M in taxpayer money

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (Feb. 23, 2015) -- A proposal to pay out $18.5 million in city tax money to Angie's List cleared its first hurdle Monday.

The City-County Council's economic development committee voted to pass the proposal onto the full council.

The controversial plan would give company Angie's List more than $18 million in taxpayer money to build its new headquarters in the old Ford factory building on East Washington Street.

"We're very, very pleased with the committee's vote tonight," Angie's List COO Mark Howell said.

The proposal has drawn heat from the community though, including those of you on FOX59's social media pages, given the company's lack of profit in its 20-year history.

Asked what he would say to taxpayers, Howell pointed out the company's growth over that time and ties to the city.

"Angie’s List is a great success story for the city of Indianapolis (in) the growth, the quality of the brand, the value of the jobs. ... It’s incredibly well-established," Howell said.

Howell also told councillors that in the proposal, the city would be owed money if Angie's List does not make certain hiring and growth goals, plus it would have a process by which to be paid back if the company went out of business.

The company did find support in the near east side community, including Joe Bowling of the East Washington Street Partnership.

"I think our neighborhood is worth this investment," Bowling said.

Ultimately, it seemed the potential for growth in that area pushed councillors to vote for the proposal. It now moves to the full city-county council where it is sure to lead to more questions.

"We deserve to get those tough questions. This is a big commitment on the city’s part and we appreciate the process," Howell said.