Greenfield council hears TIF district pitch

By Angela Shepherd - For The Times-Gazette

Greenfield council members on Tuesday seemed to be on board with city manager Todd Wilkin’s belief that creating a TIF district at the industrial park would serve not only the community of Greenfield well, but also the Greenfield school district and Great Oaks.

TIF (Tax Increment Financing) is “an economic development mechanism available to local governments in Ohio to finance public infrastructure improvements …” according to the Ohio Development Service Agency’s website.

Currently, the 187-acre, mostly agricultural South Central Ohio Industrial Park generates about $5,300 a year in taxes, Wilkin said, with $2,850 of that going to Greenfield’s school district and $293 going to Great Oaks.

“If we create a TIF that is 75 percent of the improved value and base it on five-acre parcels with a 50,000 square foot building, we could generate (another) $11,680 per year for Greenfield, $2,712 for Greenfield schools, and $278 for Great Oaks,” Wilkin said. And those numbers are based on just one newly-developed five-acre parcel, he said, and is roughly the same amount of taxes as is currently generated by the farmland portion of the industrial park. And the increased taxes on the developed parcels, Wilkin said, would help fund the development of the industrial park infrastructure.

“I truly think it will be a benefit to our community as a whole,” he said, and he urged council to begin the process “sooner rather than later.”

Wilkin said he has had discussions on the matter with Highland County Auditor Bill Fawley, and he has also met with school district representatives. The city manager also noted that Mt. Orab has had success with TIF districts and the ensuing development.

Greenfield’s industrial park was recently certified with the state, making it more visible to businesses looking for locations. And according to Greenfield Law Director Brian Zets, a TIF district is also likely appealing to prospective businesses as the land value is essentially frozen and businesses occupying a developed parcel in a TIF district pay the property taxes on that land value rather than the additional value that comes from development.

In other business, Wilkin reported that the village is “looking into” the installation of “radio read gateways” for the village water system that would allow for village-wide water meter reading multiple times per day from the locations of the gateways, like at the water tower.

He said the “process is still in the beginning phases,” but the village is currently working with a company to conduct a study and provide the costs for up to two gateways.

“This strategy will provide a valuable service to the village and the citizens,” Wilkin said, “The system will be able to recognize a leak … in real time” based on the usage at the property. “This will ultimately save the citizen time, money, and headaches since the village will be able to notify them immediately of a potential issue.”

Wilkin also reported that the yard waste site will be open on June 29 from noon to 4 p.m. and June 30 from 8 a.m. to noon. It is at the village’s waste water treatment facility located at 187 Lost Bridge Road.

Council chair Phil Clyburn reported that state historical officials next week will be touring Greenfield’s proposed historical district.

G3 (Grow Greater Greenfield) member Connie Clyburn said Wednesday that a team from the State Historic Preservation Office will walk through the proposed historic district of McArthur Way on the east to Sixth Street on the west and Mirabeau Street on the south to Lafayette Street on the north. The team will provide “guidance on completing the nomination process,” she said.

The effort to have a portion of Greenfield put on the National Register of Historical Places has been ongoing, with many meetings with residents and visits with Heritage Ohio, the state’s “official historic preservation and Main Street organization,” according to the website.

It is all part of a grassroots effort that began a couple years ago to play to Greenfield’s strengths to attract business and tourism to the area.

Phil Clyburn said that properties within a historical district receive 45 percent back in tax credits on money spent on the property. It is something those behind the effort hope “will be a draw to further development” in Greenfield, he said.

The Greenfield Village Council meets next in regular session on July 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the council chambers on the first floor of the City Building. The meetings are open the the public.

By Angela Shepherd

For The Times-Gazette