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12-20-05 Celina school board willing to forgo tax funds

By William Kincaid

  Celina City Schools board of education will work with the city to create a new tax increment finance (TIF) district to raise money for needed water and sewer improvements in the city.

  TIFs are government 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 school board needs to agree to a TIF because property taxes for the school system will be affected.

  During the Monday meeting, board members unanimously approved the city's request for an agreement for the Market Street TIF District.

  Also on Monday, Celina City Council approved emergency legislation to create the TIF district, which includes a portion of Market Street and a small swath of land on the south edge of the city where new development is expected. The 32-parcel district includes businesses such as Lockwood Performance, Dairy Queen, Cityside Carryout and Pirate's Cove condominiums.

  City officials have said the TIF district is needed to raise money for millions of dollars in sewer and water upgrades that will be needed in the coming years. City officials tentatively plan to install a 12-inch water main underneath Market Street from Enterprise Street all the way to Sugar Street.  No exact estimate for the work has been given, and city officials have said it will be at least two years before any work is done.

  The Market Street TIF District will be active for 25 years before the money would revert to government tax coffers. Property owners pay the same amount whether they are paying regular property taxes or TIF payments.

  The school district will get 25 percent of the TIF revenue.

  Treasurer Mike Marbaugh told board members that if all phases of development in the TIF District proceed as planned, the school would receive a little under $100,000 in revenue.

  Superintendent Matt Miller told board members that he appreciates the efforts of Community Development Director Kent Bryan and the city of Celina in ensuring a good relationship with the school.

  "I hope the TIF district will bring development to our city," Miller said.


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