The Ohio Supreme Court ruled in a 7 – 0 decision that Centerville may utilize a tax-increment financing plan (TIF) to assist with the development of the 268 acres known as the Dille Property, located both north and south of I-675 at Wilmington Pike. This decision ends more than five years of legal battles waged by Sugarcreek Township against the City of Centerville, and reversed an earlier ruling by the Second District Court of Appeals.
TIFs are public financing tools, established by the state of Ohio, used to make public improvements to an area to create jobs and improve local economies. When property values in the TIF area increase due to new construction, the property taxes collected on that increased value are temporarily redirected to a separate fund to pay for infrastructure improvements in that area. Sugarcreek Township has asserted that it was owed any new tax monies from the property. However, the decision, written by Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger, states that since the township may still collect their share of taxes on the unimproved property and eventually from the improved property, “…the TIF enhances rather than interferes with the Township’s ability to collect taxes.”
TIF funds may pay specifically for infrastructure improvements in the TIF area, including road widenings, utility extensions and traffic signalization upgrades.What should have been a straightforward process became entangled in court battles as Sugarcreek Township began legal proceedings against the City of Centerville. “It is unfortunate that Sugarcreek Township has tied up this development process for more than five years through litigation,” said Greg Horn, Centerville city manager. “They have spent thousands of taxpayers’ dollars. As the defendant in this case, we have been forced to do the same, however, we are pleased that the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in our favor and look forward to assisting Cornerstone Development Group in bringing quality development and economic growth to our area.”
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”This article has been adapted from a City of Centerville press release which can be found at : http://www.centervilleohio.gov/centweb/