A new ordinance Bexley City Council approved April 14 allows a new community bank to move into Bexley.

Council voted 6-0 to approve Ordinance 12-20, which authorizes the mayor to enter into an incentive agreement for Ohio State Bank to open a branch at 2106 E. Main St. The ordinance states the bank would be eligible for the Bexley Office Incentive Program, which offers employers a cash incentive in an amount to be determined for up to 50% of city income tax withheld for new employee positions created.

Council President Lori Ann Feibel said she abstained from the vote because she and her husband have an investment in the bank.

Mayor Ben Kessler said Ohio State Bank plans to bring a $3 million development to Bexley, with $1.2 million of it eligible for tax-increment-financing reimbursement.

A tax-increment-financing agreement, or TIF, diverts a certain amount of tax dollars toward the infrastructure of a private development.

"This reimbursement would provide the developer with a portion of new tax revenue that is received specifically from the development and placed into the (city's) TIF account," Kessler said. "This is a special account that's set up for all properties on Main Street, where the incremental increase in value on those properties goes into the special account. And from that account, public improvements can be made, and new developments can be reimbursed for eligible improvements."

Kessler said the city has projected the Ohio State Bank development ultimately would generate about $233,000 in TIF reimbursements over a 14-year period.

"None of our Bexley tax-receiving entities are impacted by a TIF," he said. "The schools are made whole by our TIF; the city's normal tax revenue is made whole. This is a separate pot of funding.

"The bank went to ARB (Architectural Review Board) and BZAP (Board of Zoning and Planning) earlier, and construction is underway. The ordinances that council passed have been in development since late 2018 and were delayed getting to council due to fine tuning of the language between the city's and the applicant's attorneys."

Murray Davis, Ohio State Bank's chairman, said he and business partner David Mallett previously were involved with the former First Bexley Bank until it was sold in 2014.

Davis said he is a Bexley resident and has firsthand knowledge of the importance of banks that are headquartered in the communities they serve.

"I think community banks are critical, not just to the cities they're located in but (also) all over central Ohio," Davis said when he addressed council about the development March 10. "I think there's a shortage of them."

Davis said he and Mallett are drawing on their experience at the former First Bexley Bank.

"As a resident, I really wanted to do it again in Bexley. We had to find a piece of real estate," Davis said. "We do intend to have another branch in (Upper) Arlington. But our main operation is here on the corner of Parkview (Avenue) and Main (Street). We thought it was the best location in Bexley."

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