Liberty Township: TIF could take tax ‘burden’ off residents

Jim Fischer
ThisWeek

Liberty Township trustees approved a tax-increment-financing district for a handful of undeveloped properties Sept. 24.

The TIF applies specifically to 12 parcels that either are currently zoned for commercial use or have the potential for commercial development, trustee Bryan Newell said. 

Liberty Township sign, as shown March 21, 2020.

Newell described the parcels as “kind of scattered."

Some are on Sawmill (Parkway); some are on Home (Road),” he said.

A TIF is an economic-development mechanism used by local governments to finance public-infrastructure improvements, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency. It locks in the taxable worth of real property at the value it holds at the time the authorizing legislation is approved, diverting the incremental revenue from traditional property-tax collecting entities to designated uses, such as funding necessary improvements or infrastructure to support a new development.

“This will help us absorb the kind of growth that comes with those kinds of developments, to capture some of the revenue to be used for infrastructure improvements,” Newell said. “We are seeking out ways to increase revenue without putting the burden on our current residents. This TIF is in line with that goal and will help fund future infrastructure.”

Newell said this is not a new-tax issue. Instead the TIF is applied only at the time a parcel is improved. TIF funds may be used for utility improvements, road upgrades and other infrastructure work that could result from development.

“It’s part of an overall financial strategy for the township,” Newell said. “We’re working to diversify revenue streams without always having to pass a levy.

“It also tells businesses that, yes, we want you to come to the township, but we know you bring certain issues, and we want you to participate in providing those dollars instead of putting it all back on our residents,” he said.

None of the properties has been developed. One parcel is in the township’s zoning process: the southwest corner of Seldom Seen Road and Sawmill Parkway, which has been proposed as a Sheetz convenience store/gas station.

The proposal was discussed during the Sept. 16 meeting of the township’s zoning commission. Its members voted to table the hearing until the commission's 7:30 p.m. Nov. 18 meeting.

Newell said work on the TIF legislation began before the Sheetz plan was brought to the township.

editorial@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekNews