Bexley city officials are beginning preliminary discussions with Bexley school board members concerning the redevelopment of the current City Hall site.

Bexley city officials are beginning preliminary discussions with Bexley school board members concerning the redevelopment of the current City Hall site.

Mayor Ben Kessler, along with council President Rick Weber, spoke with school board members last month about how the relocation of City Hall and the proposed redevelopment of the site would affect the school district. The two presented a draft proposal to board members in order to launch that discussion.

The project could bring an influx of tax dollars for the district, they said.

"The City Hall site is currently tax exempt, so any change in use from its current tax exempt status will have positive ramifications to the school board," Kessler told ThisWeek Bexley News late last month.

The city is looking to redevelop the Main Street location using a tax-increment financing agreement. A TIF is an economic development mechanism available to local governments in Ohio to finance public infrastructure improvements.

Current TIF funding is helping to make Main Street in Bexley more pedestrian-friendly and more picturesque, and Kessler has supported the use of the funding to beautify and improve the functionality of Main Street. Moving City Hall off its current prime location seemed to go hand-in-hand with current planning, according to Kessler.

According to the state's Development Services Agency, "A TIF works by locking in the taxable worth of real property at the value it holds at the time the authorizing legislation was approved. Payments derived from the increased assessed value of any improvement to real property beyond that amount are directed towards a separate fund to finance the construction of public infrastructure defined within the TIF legislation."

TIF funding is already responsible for a number of improvements along Main Street in Bexley.

"As we continue to work on concepts for redevelopment of the City Hall site, we know that without a robust TIF on the site the city won't be able to afford the cost of relocating City Hall and the service garage," Kessler said. "One of my criteria as I assess redevelopment options is that any redevelopment concept must be cost neutral to the city prior to accounting for any new payroll dollars.

"So a TIF is an essential tool to offset our costs of relocating in a way that doesn't involve the expenditure of any general fund dollars."

In order to move ahead most effectively with the TIF at the City Hall site, Bexley needs the approval of the local school board.

Toward that end "... the conversation earlier this month focused on ways we could work together to move forward with a taxable use on Main Street in a way that would benefit the city, the school board and the community," Kessler said.

Bexley Board of Education members and the school district's attorney, Jeff Rich, reviewed the ways in which the TIF and income sharing options would impact the revenue for the city and the school district.

Both sides agreed that options will be discussed in more detail if the proposed redevelopment of the property continues to move forward.