A hurdle Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings said last month needed to be cleared before developers could move forward with a Marriott Hotel project in the city was passed Monday when the Hillsboro City Schools Board of Education voted unanimously to approve a tax increment financing (TIF) compensation agreement with the city.
Hillsboro Safety and Service Director Dick Donley told the school board last month that the agreement could help offset infrastructure costs of the project that could bring an 83-room Marriott Hotel to Hillsboro, along with a 5,000 square foot restaurant, 3,300 square foot retail plaza and possibly 20,000 square feet of retail space adjacent to a bank.
The site of the project would be near the intersection SR 73 and Harry Sauner Road.
“On behalf of the city and as a citizen of Hillsboro, I do want to congratulate you on taking the time … to reach a compatible agreement that satisfies both the builder and the school,” Donley told the board Monday. “It’s been my pleasure to partner with you on this deal.”
Hillsboro City Schools Treasurer Been Teeters said the agreement is for 25 years.
A copy Teeters provided of the agreement says that in any year the school district “would have received property tax payments derived from the increased value to the parcels included in the exempted property … the city will pay the school district an annual payment equal to the amount of $60,000.”
“I just appreciate the time it took to work with the city to reach an agreement in a short amount of time, and I look forward to the progress the city is making,” Bill Myers, school board president, said after the meeting.
Ankur Patel, one of the hotel developers, said at last month’s school board meeting there is a need for a hotel in Hillsboro because people coming to the city to visit family or on business trips usually stay 30 or 40 miles away.
“We believe that there’s a big need for a hotel here and it provides some economic growth as well to the city and the community in terms of tax revenues and having a tighter-knit product onto the face of the map,” Patel said. “The Marriott product will really bring something. People will see the city of Hillsboro has a lot of growth and development coming to it.”
Dick Spoor, an attorney for the developers with the Keating, Muething and Klekamp firm in Cincinnati, said last month that the TIF proposal provides an incentive for building infrastructure that would cost about $3 million for the proposed project.
As previously explained, if the school district agreed to the TIF proposal, it would continue to receive the same amount of property taxes it currently receives annually from the property in question, then would negotiate with the developers on a percentage of the extra property tax valuation it would receive once the property is developed.
“The standard argument is if a developer doesn’t get an incentive, will they proceed? Spoor asked last month. “Or will they proceed with as large a project as they would have without the incentive? It’s hard to say. I think it’s certainly a reasonable request. I think it’s a very important part of this, to make it profitable, particularly since there is a certain risk in putting a hotel and development of this type in Hillsboro as compared to say Eastgate.”
In essence, by agreeing to the proposal, the school district is giving up additional property tax valuation once the project is complete. But on the other hand, there would be no additional property tax valuation if the hotel does not come to Hillsboro.
Hastings previously told The Times-Gazette the four-story hotel would be the anchor to what he described as a “four-building, mixed-use community incorporating new retail, restaurants and possibly office space with a Marriott brand hotel.”
In other news from the meeting, board member Tom Milbery said the district’s Power Pack program that sends snacks home with qualifying students over weekends and extended school breaks, had 39 eligible students as of last week not receiving the food because the district had exceeded its allocation from the Freestore Food Bank of Cincinnati.
He said the cost to serve one student through the program is $200 a year. He said more information about the program is available on the Hillsboro Elementary School website by looking for “Power Pack program” on the quick links.
“On behalf of our district, I would like to appeal to our community, both businesses and individuals, to help us meet the needs of our children,” Milbery said. “It is my understanding that we have already received a $1,000 donation (from County Quilters)… Individuals and businesses may contribute to the Freestore Food Bank of Cincinnati through the link or as a direct contribution to the school and earmarked for that purpose. Educational needs can not be fulfilled before primary needs are meet. We need the help of the Hillsboro community.”
At the beginning of the meeting, curriculum specialists Alicia Sellins and Shelley Beumer gave a presentation on the district’s State Report Card results.
Some of the highlights from their report included:
* Hillsboro met six of 24 indicators, the most it has met since it moved to the Ohio State Tests.
* Increased the overall district grade from a C to a B, placing Hillsboro in the top 33 percent of Ohio districts.
* The district’s progress grade was a B, meaning it is giving its students an average of more than a year’s worth of growth each year.
* The graduation rate grade raised from a C the past three years to a B, and the four-year graduation rate hit an all-time high of 89.5 percent.
* The district raised its Improving At-Risk K-3 Readers grade from a B to an A, placing it in the top 2 percent of Ohio districts.
* Hillsboro is ranked in the top 3.5 percent of districts in the state when adjusted for median household income, or 21st out of Ohio’s 608 school districts.
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.