Springfield officials ponder economic incentive for project that aims to build 258 homes

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

Springfield officials are expected to vote in June on an economic incentive agreement that would stay the collection of new property taxes at the planned Sycamore Ridge housing development.

The incentive, known as Tax Incremental Financing, is aimed at attracting and subsidizing new investments. The idea is that a percentage of property tax under the agreement would go towards reimbursing certain projects.

The Sycamore Ridge development aims to construct 258 homes on 72 acres of land along East Leffel Lane and South Burnett Road. The project is slated to start this year, and the developer is Columbus-based DDC Management.

The TIF agreement that is being considered for Sycamore Ridge is similar to the one passed several years ago for the Bridgewater Development near the Tuttle Road Walmart. Both projects are being developed by DDC Management, and Bridgewater, which aims to bring 226 homes to the area, is expected to wrap up its fourth and final phase this year.

TIF agreements for both developments will stay new property tax collections by local government on those new homes for a period of 30 years. It will not impact property tax already collected on those properties before the increase in property value due to development.

The TIFs would also have 25% of the property tax marked for local schools going to Clark-Shawnee Local Schools for up to 10 years. After that, the district would receive the full amount of those taxes.

But, the agreement that is being proposed for Sycamore Ridge and was discussed by Springfield city officials during a biweekly public meeting on Tuesday will include something new.

If city commissioners approve the agreement, it will create what is known as a New Community Authority, and generate an additional 4 mills of property tax in that development.

That would result in 2 mills going to Clark-Shawnee and the other 2 going to Springfield Twp. during the first 10 years of the TIF agreement.

“We have tried to work to find ways to help offset some of the losses (the district) experienced through the TIF period by introducing this new community authority,” Springfield City Manager Bryan Heck has said.

The agreement regarding Sycamore Ridge is expected be voted by Springfield city commissioners during their next public meeting on June 7.

Though TIFs have been important in attracting outside investment, they have been met with resistance by some in the community.

Traditionally, agreements in the area have been reached for commercial industrial properties, especially in territory annexed to the city of Springfield from Springfield Twp., at the request of private entities.

However, recent TIF requests regarding several residential developments in annexed territory that shares duel jurisdiction with both the city of Springfield and Springfield Twp., has caused concern.

Opponents to such proposals say that a loss of property tax revenue will put an unfair burden on Springfield Twp., which is responsible for road maintenance that will be utilized by the new developments.

Some are also concerned that the potential of hundreds of new residents will overcrowd the township schools and roadways, and stretch other resources even more.

But proponents argue that they are a necessary tool for attracting investment. Springfield officials says that more residential development will benefit schools in the long term, generating more tax revenue once the TIFs expire.

In terms of concerns regarding maintenance cost for the township, the city says that annual service payments made to the township are more than enough to cover those costs.

Springfield city officials have made more effort as well to educate the public around these types of incentives. That included Columbus attorney Greg Daniels presenting information regarding TIFs to Springfield commissioners this week.

The presentation discussed the different type of TIF agreements used in the state and the impacts they have. That includes different percentage of property taxes collected as a result and where that money goes.

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