Rocky Fork Enterprise

$20,000 appropriation

Council mulls tax-incentive management

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Gahanna officials want to make sure the city is getting the most bang for the buck when it comes to tax-increment-financing districts.

Gahanna City Council is considering a supplemental appropriation of $20,000 from the TIF fund ($4,000 from each of the five TIFs with current cash flow) for Argus Growth Consultants to provide tax-incentive management services.

City finance director Jennifer Teal told council committee members July 22 that Gahanna currently has one retired and seven active TIF districts that are administered through the TIF fund.

Currently, she said, more than 725 TIF parcels exist throughout the city, with TIF transactions spanning the past 30-plus years.

Teal said she wants to make sure the city is receiving the maximum amount of revenue from the TIFs due to the number of transactions and parcels, as well as the city's planned use of additional TIFs in the future.

Pending council approval, Argus would review existing TIFs and their parcels to ensure that no parcels are missed and that their base values line up accurately.

Argus also would review TIF revenue and school compensation payments; develop a TIF policy for the city that defines roles and responsibilities for TIF creation and administration within the city; and develop tools for ongoing tracking to improve the ability to calculate developer and school compensation payments and provide effective analysis.

Teal said the city currently receives TIF reports from the county.

"We run them through some models," she said. "What we haven't done is a parcel-by-parcel review. It's a labor-intensive process. We haven't had the time to work on it. Now that we're looking more toward TIFs, we want to make sure we have a solid foundation and make sure we're getting every dollar (due)."

Council member Karen Angelou asked if the city has lost revenue.

"It's common to have base evaluation errors as parcels change hands and additional parcels are created," Teal said.

Angelou asked how long it would take to oversee 750 parcels.

Teal said the bulk of the work could be done by the end of the year, with any corrective actions being realized in next year's distributions.

Council member Brian Larick asked how far back the TIF would be evaluated.

"It would be since inception of the particular TIF," Teal said. "If it was created five years ago, we would look back five years. All of our TIFs have a 30-year term. One matured two years ago. There's opportunity for growth."

She said Argus is an arm of Bricker & Eckler and has an extensive track record of providing TIF audits and administrative and consulting services throughout the state and, particularly, Franklin County.

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