Taxpayers could find their wallets a bit thicker than expected this year now that the city of Grandview Heights, Grandview Heights Schools and Nationwide Realty Investors have ratified an agreement to revise the school compensation plan for the Grandview Yard development.
The revised agreement replaces the previous school compensation "waterfall" formula, which set an increasing percentage of revenue the district receives as more residential units were built at the Yard.
Under the new formula, the schools will receive a flat 45 percent of the Payments in Lieu of Taxes funds from the Yard.
Payments in Lieu of Taxes are payments made to compensate governments for property-tax revenue lost to tax incentives.
"It has been a very long and challenging and exciting process and we're appreciative of the efforts of City Council, the school board and Nationwide Realty Investors to work together to do something that is bigger than themselves and allows us to do our facilities project at a reduced cost for our taxpayers," Superintendent Andy Culp said.
The agreement is expected to provide half of the funding for the district's $55.2 million facilities project, which will include construction of a new grade 4-8 building, major renovations to the high school and modifications to Stevenson Elementary School to improve that building's security and ADA compliance.
"The $55.2 million cost of the project will remain in place, but with the additional revenue we'll be getting out of the revised agreement, we'll be able to reduce the millage amount by half," Treasurer Beth Collier said.
Instead of the 5.84 mills voters approved Nov. 6, property owners will be paying 2.9 mills, she said.
Under the reduced millage, taxpayers' annual bills for the bond portion of Issue 6 will be reduced from an estimated $205 to $102 per $100,000 in property valuation, Collier said.
The exact amount of revenue the revised formula will provide is still to be determined, she said.
The district has hired Umbaugh and Associates, a financial consulting firm, to assist with revenue projections from the Yard, Collier said.
While the city has provided the district with revenue information since the original compensation agreement was adopted in 2009, "we thought it would be best to hire an outside firm to assist us and help monitor the revenue projections, since that money will be providing up to half of our debt-service payments," she said.
The district is confident the revenue from the new agreement will equal at least 50 percent of the debt service cost, Collier said.
After the Nov. 6 vote, the school board asked the Franklin County auditor to reduce the bond-millage collection rate for 2019 by half of the rate approved by voters, she said.
Although the revision of the compensation agreement had not been finalized at that time, the board proceeded with the request because of the confidence that the new formula under discussion would be ratified, Collier said.
The revised compensation agreement was made possible due to the success of the Grandview Yard development, said Patrik Bowman, the city's director of administration and economic development.
"We've met every time frame and reached every mark that we intended over the last 10 years," he said. "It's allowed us to work with the school district and NRI to come up with something that not only benefits the schools, but the entire community."