Concord: give us something we can approve

By D. Anthony Botkin -

The tiff over TIFs continues between Concord Township and Delaware County.

Concord Township Trustees voted unanimously May 10 to oppose a Tax Increment Financing proposed by Delaware County. The second meeting last Thursday was considered a more positive get together than the last one.

“I appreciate them for taking the time to sit down for further discussion,” said Bob Lamb, Delaware County Economic Development director. “I thought it was a positive meeting, a win-win. They were able to share their thoughts and I thought it was a fair request from them for additional information to see if these investment options are the right fit for their township.”

The county is proposing a contribution of $3.4 million from the township for a $12.5 million infrastructure improvement project to help entice developers to the area.

Trustee Joe Garrett said the township wasn’t saying no to the TIF, just the way it is currently written.

“Give us something we can approve,” he said. “You’re saying we’ll make you a one-to-two trade. How can we approve that?”

In the first meeting, Lamb told the trustees it was the county’s intent to leverage residential development in Concord Township to facilitate the development of infrastructure within the U.S. 42 corridor and Sawmill Parkway.

Lamb told trustees that he understood the TIF would decrease the township’s revenue. He said he thought the addition of the $2.5 million in sewer improvements could spur further growth.

“From the comments from our last meeting and today, I understand there is serious concern with that,” he said.

Lamb said he wanted to come to an understanding between the county and township regarding the project. He then offered an incentive to move closer to that understanding.

“We can allocate $2 million of the TIF dollars to your general fund,” he said. “That is money you can hold on to to be used for other options.”

Trustee Jason Haney said there wasn’t anything different about the county’s proposal, “other than just adding a little bit of money to it to try coerce us.” He said the money acted as a payment.

“All they were doing was padding the deal,” Haney said. “We are not financially strapped because we are extremely conservative with what we spend our money on.”

Haney said the trustees know how much revenue is collected by the township.

“We spend our money wisely,” he said. “We’re looking for the future and investment into our own township. We need to grow the township in a financially stable way and the correct way that our constituents would like us to grow it. That is the basis of everything we’re looking at.

By D. Anthony Botkin

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.