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TIF plan presented to Cumberland County Commissioners

CARLISLE — Carlisle Borough Council President Perry Heath, along with bond attorney for the Cumberland County Industrial Development Authority Jonathan Cox, and Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Bowser, went before Cumberland County commissioners Thursday morning at the commissioners’ workshop meeting to request that the county consider appointing a representative to the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) committee.

A vote wasn’t expected at Thursday’s meeting, but “part of the statute of Tax Increment Financing states that you need to make a formal presentation to each of the three taxing bodies explaining that you have an interest in doing TIF financing and then also asking for representation from each of the taxing bodies to be part of the committee,” Bowser said. “That [committee] would then come up with a plan and then go back to the three taxing bodies for approval.”

The borough has pursued and applied for numerous grant opportunities at both the federal and state level, and is currently pursuing a $12 million U.S. Department of Transportation’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant.

“With a lot of these grants, you have a private match, so they want to do TIF financing to serve as part of the total match for a potential TIGER grant that they may receive in the future,” Bowser said.

The TIF plan could potentially be viewed as a two-pronged plan: It acts as a match, but it also enables the borough to get its hands-on money up front to finance the project.

The idea behind the plan is to allow money in the form of bonds to be accessed — with the anticipated tax increase from the developed site in mind — to finance the infrastructural improvements that are needed to produce future development at the former IAC/Masland site.

Once the property has been developed and assessed, there will be incremental tax increases, Bowser said. However, that increase will not affect residents, schools or the county. In fact, millage rates won’t increase at all, and the three taxing bodies wouldn’t be in jeopardy at a loss of revenue, he said.

But after the incremental increase occurs, the increase in revenue coming from the developed property will go toward the bond that was used to update the existing infrastructure — which was identified as coming to a total of $50 million in infrastructural improvements, Bowser said.

“Ideally, it should help strengthen the tax base long-term because once that up front tax bond is paid off, now all that money is going to directly flow right to the taxing bodies,” he said.

Cox made a good point at Thursday’s meeting, Bowser explained, by adding that without the up-front proceeds for infrastructural improvements, there wouldn’t be the type of development available in order to get to the tax values that the developed area is expected to bring in.

An exact date for when a vote on this matter would take place has yet to be decided, Bowser said, noting that there is plenty of work to be done before that is even considered.

First and foremost — the actual committee has to be formed. What would follow entails a vast list of things that need to be looked at by the committee, plus a financial analysis and a feasibility study need to be formed, he explained.

“It really depends how quickly we get through the plan to how quickly we can get it back in front of the taxing bodies for approval,” Bowser said.

To view to article from The Sentinel, click here.

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