Warren County approves tax financing extension for racino

A tax increment financing agreement for Miami Valley Gaming has been increased and extended for another 20 years.

The Warren County Commissioners recently approved the extension of the TIF agreement, which increased the tax exemption amount from 75% to 100% and will enable Lebanon City Schools and the Warren County Career Center to collect 100% of property tax due to them through payments in lieu of taxes.

Karen Ervin, Lebanon schools treasurer, said the district was only receiving 25% of the property tax over the first 10 years of the TIF agreement. With the change of the agreement and extension, the schools will receive payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) revenues equal to what they would have received in property taxes, she said.

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Ervin said depending on the district’s tax valuation, she is projecting the district receiving between $850,000 to $900,000 a year from the new agreement when it begins in fiscal year 2024 and is collected in fiscal year 2025.

“The PILOT payments are unrestricted for the board to use for its general fund, capital improvements, district initiatives, etc.,” Ervin said.

Tax increment financing deals are traditionally used to help fund new developments. Schools, cities and other agencies continue to receive the small property tax amounts they had received when the land to be developed had been vacant. But when development on that land occurs, much of the tax revenue that would normally be paid because of the increase (increment) in value, is used to pay for infrastructure around the project, for a certain number of years.

As part of this agreement, county commissioners and Turtlecreek Twp. trustees wanted to see the schools compensated. In addition, the trustees also wanted the TIF revenues used for infrastructure improvements and for township operations. The trustees also wanted TIF revenues left over at the end of the new agreement to be turned over to the township.

In the past few months, the boards of both school districts and township trustees approved the new TIF agreement before the commissioners gave their approval on Dec. 20.

Matt Schnipke, county economic development director, said the new TIF will produce approximately $4 million for the life of the agreement. Those funds will be used to help fund new infrastructure projects.

The Warren County Engineer’s Office has identified several projects that could benefit from the new agreement, with an estimated total price tag of nearly $43.3 million.

Those proposed projects and estimated total costs include:

  • Ohio 63 widening to three lanes from Ohio 741 to Parkside development, estimated at nearly $15.3 million.
  • Ohio 63 widening to three lanes from Parkside development to Ohio 123, estimated more than $7.7 million.
  • Union/Gateway Connection from Ohio 63 to Solid Rock Church, estimated at nearly $9.33 million.
  • Union Road widening, from Solid Rock Church to Greentree Road, estimated at more than $7.2 million.
  • Greentree Road/Ohio 741 roundabout, estimated at more than $5.16 million.
  • Encore Drive temporary connection from Ohio 63 to tie-in point, estimated at $633,939.

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