WEST MILTON — On Thursday, the West Milton village council held a special meeting to discuss an error found in the village’s community reinvestment area ordinance.
At an upcoming meeting, council will hear the first reading of an ordinance amending an error in the provisions of the community reinvestment area (CRA).
“It wasn’t printed properly and we happened to catch that we don’t really have a CRA like we supposed we did in the codified ordinance,” Municipal Manager Matt Kline said. “And of course, everything we’ve been doing has been based on a four-year abatement along with an overlaid TIF for the Stillwater Development.”
A CRA is an incentive program that abates property taxes for improved properties for a period of time. The CRA program provides property tax exemptions to property owners who renovate or construct new buildings in a certain area; in West Milton’s case, that area is the entire village and any future annexations, Kline said.
The tax increment financing (TIF) plan for the Stillwater Crossings development will overlap with the CRA. Under a TIF, new property taxes generated go into a fund to pay for public improvements over a period of years.
The CRA was established in 1979 and was revised in 1991, 1994 and 2006. When the 2006 ordinance was printed, residential properties were left out, which made property tax abatement unavailable to people looking to build homes in West Milton. This error was discovered in the course of planning for the new development.
“There’s no way for the developer to go out to the bond market unless we have a CRA in place,” Kline added.
Discovering the error also provided council an opportunity to revise the abatement periods available.
The 1994 ordinance provided a one-year abatement for new residential dwellings. Following the 2006 revision, village staff believed that different abatement periods, from four to 15 years, were available for different levels of construction costs beginning at $100,000 for any new construction, commercial or residential.
Council discussed adding in several options for residential construction, with abatement periods from four to eight years, depending on construction costs.
The upcoming legislation will most likely include a four-year abatement for new residential dwellings and an eight-year abatement for homes above $300,000 that would drop off after 2018.
Mayor Scott Fogle spoke in favor of a single abatement period, but said he would not oppose the eight-year abatement.
“Four years keeps it simple. Straight across the board, easy and simple,” he said.
Councilman Scott Hurst said the four-year abatement is “for the greater good of West Milton.”
On Jan. 2, council will likely hear the first reading of an ordinance amending the CRA to add residential abatement back in.
Also at the first meeting of 2018, the village’s new mayor, vice mayor and council member will be sworn in.
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