Tiff over TIFs has county and township at odds

As the Jan. 1 deadline to create residential tax increment financing (TIF) districts under the current rules nears, the Batavia School District has begun negotiation meetings into whether the district wants to sign off on the proposed plan.

Tax increment financing is a redevelopment tool designed to revitalize blighted communities by encouraging private investment and enhancing the tax base.

Clermont County officials are looking to create 11 TIF districts, five which are in Batavia Township.

Normally, the tax dollars from the new developments in Batavia Township would go to the township, but by creating the TIFs, the county is guaranteeing that the money goes into a special fund designated for infrastructure improvements around the county.

The township worries that if the county creates the TIF districts the Central Joint Fire and EMS Fire Department will lose substantial tax revenue dollars while being responsible for the additional residences.

Batavia Township trustees are trying to create TIF districts in the five developments themselves so that the tax revenue stays within their district, even though they cannot be used to make services whole.

The trustees note that they would not be trying to create the TIF districts if the county were not also working toward it.

If the township were to create the TIF districts rather than the county, the monies generated could not legally be used to make the services whole. All the monies generated by a TIF district must be used for infrastructure. Yet the trustees note that it best to keep the monies within the township.

Additionally, the current rules for TIF districts explicitly state that the school districts must approve the TIF districts, ensuring monies are not lost from redirected tax dollars.

All other county and township services do not have any say in the creation of TIF districts and are forced to absorb any losses from the redirected tax dollars.

However, concern seems to be minimal around county agencies.

According to Tim McCartney, Director of Job and Family Services, which encompasses Children