Fairfield creates 2 new districts for improving properties

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

Credit: Michael D. Pitman

Fairfield City Council created two new tax increment financing (TIF) districts in the city, which will help make improvements to areas within the city but not raise taxes.

The first of the two areas approved is the South Town Center TIF District. It runs south of Nilles Road and includes all of Village Green. It runs narrowly south along Pleasant Avenue until the business areas south of the roadway south of Hunter Road and ends at John Gray Road.

The second area is the Northeast Area TIF District is larger, and includes commercial properties that front both sides of Ohio 4 and nearly all of the industrial properties to the east, including Port Union, Symmes Road and Bypass Ohio 4.

Development Services Director Greg Kathman said none of the city’s TIF districts include residential properties.

A TIF district is not unique in Ohio. There are more than 2,000 within the state, and this would be the second and third such districts in Fairfield.

“A key important fact to remember is that it does not raise anybody’s property taxes, and it will not impact school revenues,” said Development Services Director Greg Kathman.

When a TIF district is created, the taxable value of each property within the district is documented and all property tax revenues generated from this value continue to be collected and distributed in the same manner they were before the TIF District was created. A TIF fund is created and part of the revenue from any increased assessed values from real property improvements — such as construction or expansion of a building ― or general appreciation are deposited into the TIF fund to pay for new public infrastructure within the designated district.

The funds can be used for public improvements, but appropriations still need to be approved by City Council.

“Remember, this is a long-term play, this is something that’s not going to happen overnight,” said Kathman. “TIF districts are expected to be in place 30 years. It will take awhile to generate sufficient funds.”

The formation of the districts has been discussed publicly since September when City Council was briefed. More than 600 property owners impacted received mailed information about the possible formation of the districts.

A public information meeting was held at the end of October.

Funding has already been earmarked to repay one business owner out of the Northeast Area TIF.

After the formation of the two districts earlier this month, City Council agreed to reimburse the Ambrose Property Group up to $500,000 for public infrastructure improvements to the Fairfield Commerce Park off Seward Road.

Payments won’t be allocated until funds are available, but Ambrose Property must pay for the work upfront, according to Fairfield Economic Development Manager Nathaniel Kaelin.

Eric Seamands, development manager for the Indianapolis-based Ambrose Property Group, said the two buildings now under construction — one at 246,000 square feet and the other at 300,000 square feet — are expected to be completed in the first quarter of next year.

A third building is at the beginning of design work, and Seamands said one or possibly two more buildings could be constructed.

Liberty Mutual, the former owner of the site, still occupies the existing building, but Seamands said his company will find renters once the insurance company moves out in 2021.

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