Funding for infrastructure causes debate


By D. Anthony Botkin - abotkin@civitasmedia.com



Concord Township Trustees voted unanimously Wednesday to oppose a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) proposal offered by Delaware County for infrastructure improvements to entice commercial development.

“It’s our intent to leverage residential development that’s occurring in this area,” said Bob Lamb, Delaware County Economic Development director, “To be able to develop sewer as well as other infrastructure, that will help facilitate commercial growth, within the (US) 42 corridor and Sawmill corridor.”

According to the Ohio Development Services Agency’s website, “Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is an economic development mechanism available to local governments in Ohio to finance public infrastructure improvements and, in certain circumstances, residential rehabilitation.”

The county is proposing a contribution of $3.4 million from the township for the $12.5 million project.

Lamb said the TIF is proposed as a non-school TIF, exempting Olentangy and Buckeye Valley school districts from contributing funds from their individual levies. He said the the township’s Fire and EMS levies would not be affected by the TIF since developments create service demands.

“Under Ohio Law the county does have the right to enact a TIF,” Lamb said. “We have structured it to try and make it as a minimal financial burden on the township as possible.”

Lamb said there’s not a lot of commercial development in the county right now because the infrastructure is not place.

“If you want to position yourself to be able to attract (commercial development) you have to make the investment,” Lamb said.

Mike Frommer, Regional Sanitary Engineering director, attended the meeting to answer questions about the sewer lines.

“Everybody wants sewers to fight off annexation from neighboring municipalities and for commercial development,” he said.

Trustee Joe Garrett said he doesn’t remember TIFs being used to pay for sewers and infrastructure in the past and wondered why they are now.

“Why are we paying for development cost when nobody else is?” Garrett asked. “Residential TIFs are a bad idea.”

Garrett said the document given to the board didn’t have a breakdown of what the funds were paying for. He said he would have preferred an itemized spreadsheet.

Lamb said he would discuss the same type of proposal with Liberty Township. Trustee Melanie Leneghan attended the meeting since the TIF also involves Liberty Township.

Lamb said he will talk to Liberty Township Monday night about running sewer lines up Sawmill Road to attract commercial development.

“They’re going to build those properties with a TIF or without a TIF,” Leneghan said. “Because they’re not farmers. They didn’t buy the land to farm it … it’s going in.”

By D. Anthony Botkin

abotkin@civitasmedia.com

D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.

D. Anthony Botkin may be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @dabotkin.