Posted: 5:37 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016

Liberty Twp. trustees dissolve taxing district

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Liberty Twp. trustees dissolve taxing district photo
Liberty Twp. trustees voted Tuesday, Sept. 20, to do away with one of their Residential Incentive Districts that was intended to fund work on the Kyles Station underpass. The RID has collected $3 million that will revert to the general fund.
Liberty Twp. trustees dissolve taxing district photo
Liberty Twp. trustees voted Tuesday, Sept. 20, to do away with one of their Residential Incentive Districts that was intended to fund work on the Kyles Station underpass. The RID has collected $3 million that will revert to the general fund.

By Denise G. Callahan

Staff Writer

LIBERTY TWP. —

Dissolving a taxing district that has collected nearly $3 million for the Kyles Station Road railroad overpass will save taxpayers money, according to Liberty Twp. trustees.

The Hawthorne Hill Residential Incentive Districts (RID) has collected nearly $3 million since its inception in 2004 to help pay to widen the railroad underpass at Kyles Station and Mauds Hughes roads.

A RID operates just like Tax Increment Financing Districts do for commercial properties, capturing tax collections on the improved value of properties.

Trustee Christine Matacic was originally opposed to dissolving the RID because she has safety concerns about what are known as “mouse holes” at the railroad overpasses.

“In 12 years we’ve had very few projects out of this RID, but it was in anticipation of being able to do this Kyles Station railroad overpass. To me it is very much a safety issue,” she said. “When you are coming north or south on Mauds Hughes, because it jogs there under the railroad overpass, we don’t have that many accidents because people are so cautious there, but there are so many near accidents.”

Matacic changed her mind and voted for the dissolution with her fellow trustees, because they have another RID still in place to support the project and the work is years away on the county engineer’s construction list. She and trustee board President Tom Farrell said getting rid of the RID will also benefit taxpayers.

Farrell said the $3 million equates to $51 million in valuation that has not been able to be used for things like police and fire levies.

“That $51 million of valuation now goes into the pot,” he said. “When it comes to levies, as residents we only pay to a dollar value. So as we have more residents and higher values, everybody pays less.”

Farrell said the money will revert to the general fund, but staff are working on a way to “earmark” it so future township officials know $3 million was collected for the Kyles Station overpass.

Butler County Engineer Greg Wilkens said the Kyles Station overpass probably won’t make it onto his construction schedule for at least another 10 to 15 years and could cost more than $20 million. He said his department continues to work with the Norfolk Southern railroad.

“Their design standards are such that it makes it difficult and expensive,” Wilkens said. “They will not shut down the rail for any period time or they don’t want to. So you have to do a shoo fly around, a little temporary track around, which is a big expense.”

 
 

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