By Tim Cox
Celina officials plan to set up two new tax increment finance (TIF) districts, including one to help pay for the eventual multi-million dollar replacement of water and sewer mains that run underneath the business corridor along Market Street.
The new TIF district would include existing commercial properties at the intersection of state Route 703 and state Route 29 and sweeps west, bordered on the north by Livingston Street and on the south by Grand Lake, extending to Lake Shore Drive. The asymmetrical zone also includes a swath of property north of Livingston near the Celina City Schools buildings along Wayne Street.
A proposed ordinance forming the TIF and other legislation will be considered during a special Celina City Council meeting at 7 p.m. Monday.
TIFs are governmental tools that allow property taxes on new development in the designated area to be diverted for a period of time into separate accounts to pay for infrastructure improvements in the same area.
The newly proposed Celina TIF is to be set up for a 25-year period. After that, tax revenue would revert to traditional government coffers. From the TIF money collected, 25 percent is given to the school under terms of an agreement between the city and school district.
City officials already have paid $11,000 for engineering on the first of what is expected to be several phases of work to achieve the improvements. A new water main is needed in the Market Street area to provide adequate fire protection to homes and businesses in the area.
As work progresses, officials are hoping to address necessary sewer and street improvements at the same time. An overall estimate has not been discussed, but the first phase of work is expected to run about $200,000.
The first phase would involve replacement of a water line along Livingston Street between Grand Lake Road and Enterprise Street. The new line then would run south along Enterprise to reach the Pirates Cove condominiums now under construction on the lakefront.
The project would end there for now, but officials want to eventually extend the water line west along Market Street all the way to Sugar Street. A 12-inch main would replace existing four- and six-inch pipes.
Council members also will discuss the creation of a second, smaller TIF district running from Logan Street to Schunk Road between Vining Street and South Sugar Street/U.S. 127. The area includes the Star Warehouse property where a local businessman plans to move his Dodge dealership.
Bud Schoenleben has received permission from the city planning commission to operate his car dealership at the site but has not finalized purchase of the property. City officials still are deciding how they will help Schoenleben accomplish the burial of some overhead telephone lines.
The cost to bury the lines is estimated at about $75,000 and city officials are considering pitching in toward the cost as an economic development incentive to help create about 30 new jobs.
The TIF ordinance -- if approved by council -- would allow the money to be spent on "public recreational facilities, land acquisition, water and sanitary sewer systems, relocation of overhead utilities," street improvements and other projects.