Pickerington Times-Sun

OhioHealth medical campus

New pact in works after Pickerington mayor's veto of initial agreement

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Mayor Lee Gray exercised his power Aug. 10 to veto a "term sheet" Pickerington City Council previously approved Aug. 6 which outlined the city's commitment for the development of the OhioHealth medical campus.

The term sheet addressed road improvements related to the impact of development of the 60-acre site and specific tax-increment financing arrangements between the city and OhioHealth.

Gray said negotiations are still ongoing despite his veto of the ordinance.

"I vetoed this ordinance with the hope of working with OhioHealth to clarify a few points and to put together a document that would build more support among City Council," Gray said.

Gray said the city administration and OhioHealth met again Monday, Aug. 12, to further discuss the document.

"I plan on calling a special council meeting with the hope of finalizing the OhioHealth term sheet," Gray said.

OhioHealth officials also expressed confidence an agreement can be reached.

"We appreciate the open dialogue we've had with the mayor, City Council and other city officials," Sean Huffman, president of OhioHealth Neighborhood Care said Monday.

"This morning's meeting went well and allowed both parties to address the remaining issues,"

"I am pleased to report that we were able to reach a tentative agreement that will bring the OhioHealth Pickerington Medical Campus with its advanced healthcare services, physicians and 180 new jobs to the community," Huffman said.

City Council had approved the emergency legislation authorizing the TIF terms by a 4-2 vote Aug. 6.

The initial term sheet pertained to OhioHealth's first phase of development, which will consist of a medical office building, an ambulatory surgical facility and a free-standing emergency facility.

Under the term agreement, OhioHealth agreed to construct a 700-foot three-lane curb extension of Stonecreek Drive from Refugee Road, relocate and construct water lines for the development and pay for improvements to Refugee Road caused by the first phase of development per a mutually agreed upon traffic study.

Pickerington City Council, on the other hand, agreed the city would make best efforts to improve Refugee Road prior to the opening of OhioHealth's development.

The agreement also called for the imposition of a springing 30-year,100-percent TIF on OhioHealth's property with subordination of payments to the Pickerington Local School District to payments for costs of public infrastructure improvements on Refugee Road and OhioHealth's property.

Pickerington agreed as well to construct, at its expense, a three-lane extension of Stonecreek Drive once OhioHealth builds a new taxable medical facility on its property of at least 25,000 square feet.

The term sheet would have also committed Pickerington to waive impact fees for OhioHealth's development if payroll generated from newly created jobs would exceed $1 million.

Councilman Jeff Fix read a prepared statement prior to the vote at the Aug. 6 City Council meeting, commending those he said helped get an agreement done.

"We've worked hard with the mayor and city manager, and the rest of council, in an effort to fashion an agreement that will have a long-term benefit for the citizens of Pickerington, and will be workable for OhioHealth," Fix said.

He said delaying such an agreement for another year would result in the city losing $60,000 in annual income tax revenue, enough to hire another police officer.

Fix also suggested further delays to widen Refugee Road would only increase congestion and traffic on the roadway.

Councilwoman Cristie Hammond, who voted against the agreement, said she was uncomfortable with a springing 30-year TIF.

"My understanding of a springing TIF is when a first parcel gets built, that's a 30-year TIF," Hammond said.

"With the next phase, another TIF starts for that parcel," Hammond said.

"Say the first TIF goes until 2045, if the next phase is five years later that TIF runs to 2050," Hammond said.

"The school district may come out behind," she said.

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