A number of county agencies on Jan. 18 asked Powell City Council to repeal the new commercial tax-increment financing district it approved in December.

A number of county agencies on Jan. 18 asked Powell City Council to repeal the new commercial tax-increment financing district it approved in December.

The city put all commercial properties within the city - not already within the downtown TIF district - into the new commercial TIF for 30 years. In TIF districts, certain tax income is defrayed and used for infrastructure costs.

Criticizing the new TIF were representatives of the Liberty Township Fire Department, Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Preservation Parks of Delaware County, Delaware-Morrow Mental Health and Recovery Services Board, and the Delaware General Health District.

All said the TIF puts a strain on their tax income.

Council members said they might consider making payments to the fire department from the funds, but said more discussion is needed.

"Having thought it through we may want to reconsider the fire department," said mayor Art Schultz. He said no to the other agencies, noting that not all taxing is fair. Powell residents must pay for things that they aren't getting benefit from, such as the county sheriff's office.

Schultz and council member Tom Counts said council is charged with looking out for Powell residents and the TIF eventually will provide much needed funds for infrastructure.

Schultz said, "It will try to offset some of those things we tried to cover when we went to the residents (on the November ballot) to increase the income tax so we can pay for capital improvements."

Voters rejected the proposed tax increase.

Liberty Township trustee Curt Sybert and fire chief Tim Jensen asked council to repeal the TIF or consider making a payment to the department in lieu of taxes, as will be done for the Olentangy Local School District.

Council member Sara Marie Brenner made a motion to repeal the new TIF district, but the motion died for lack of a second.

With a TIF, a property's increase in value is exempt from taxes, but the property owner still pays the same amount of money, which is put into a special fund used to pay for infrastructure in the TIF district.

For example, city attorney Gene Hollins said, if a vacant lot is included in a TIF district, the value of the lot still is taxed and distributed to the various agencies that have tax issues. When it is developed, the owner pays the amount the taxes would have brought in on the new value into the special fund.

Hollins said half of the property in the TIF area is not developed. When it is fully developed, the taxing value would be about 2.3 percent of the overall taxable property value in Liberty Township and 0.3 percent of the overall taxable value within Delaware County.

The agencies also complained about not getting notice of the TIF that eventually will affect their revenues, having only read it in the newspaper.

Schultz said, "I apologize that you found out about this in the paper. There should have been a better mechanism, particularly for our own township."