What is TIF?

Submitted by jonathan.millea on Fri, 02/25/2022 - 1:02pm
Map of the Proposed Oak Hill TIF Area
What is Tax Increment Financing?

TIF is a financial and legislative tool to redirect a certain portion of property taxes to cover public improvements.  

  • TIF cannot in any way raise or change tax rates. It is an inter-governmental tool for funding public infrastructure only. Property owners residing within the TIF see no change in the property taxes they would otherwise pay.

  • TIF works by redirecting a portion of future property taxes from new construction in a certain area to fund public infrastructure, such as road widenings, intersection safety enhancements, and provision of new utilities. 

  • When public improvements are needed, in lieu of instituting taxes, cutting budgets for other services, or raising fees for utilities, TIF allows governments to partner and create special infrastructure districts to fund needed projects with future taxes collected from new construction.

  • TIFs are established for specific areas (no larger than 300-acres) and are approved on a case-by-case basis with the cooperation of city, county, and school district governments.  

  • The City of Wooster works extremely hard to support opportunities for prosperity for all residents, and that includes keeping our tax rate among the lowest in the State for cities (Wooster is 25% to 40% lower than almost all other peer cities) and maintaining high safety standards and exceptional quality services. Using financial tools such as TIF to fund public projects, investing the time to apply for state and federal grants, and working to properly engineer infrastructure, are some of the ways the City is able to accomplish this.

What Does a TIF Around Oak Hill Accomplish?

The Oak Hill TIF Economic Plan is a strategy to fund critical road safety improvements along Oak Hill Road and support sanitary sewer extension. Normally, these costs would be covered out of the City of Wooster's and Wayne County's annual budgets and also direct assessments paid by the Wooster City School District and other property owners. Improvements are needed today in order to best enhance safety along Oak Hill Road, which serves over 12,000 cars a day, and resolve sewer capacity issues. Through TIF legislation, City of Wooster, the Wooster City School District, and Wayne County could fund the $8.6 MM projects with a financial commitment from private development, rather than utilizing current public budgets and funding. A few highlights of the plan include:

  • The Oak Hill TIF would redirect a portion of future property taxes paid from a 91-home subdivision planned on Oak Hill Road into an infrastructure fund. (It does not in any way lower or raise the rate individual property owners would pay otherwise.).
  • 80% of the TIF project is dedicated to roadway work:
  • $2.1 MM is anticipated to cover the cost of a new roundabout at Oldman Road and Oak Hill. (This could begin in 2023 or 2024).
  • $4.7 MM is anticipated to cover the cost of a new roundabout at W. Milltown and Oak Hill, along with reconstruction and widening of W. Milltown and Oak Hill. (This would likely not begin until after 2025 or later).
  • About 20% of the TIF project will enhance sanitary sewer:
  • About $1.8 MM is required to install two sanitary lift stations and extend sewer 3/4 of a mile. The project would replace an outdated system at the Wooster City School District campus which is necessary today, and for any future campus expansion. This also provides sanitary sewer to the new housing development.
  • The TIF will not fund internal public infrastructure (homebuilders are responsible for building their own roads, sewer lines, and waterlines). All TIF improvements are for the general public's use and do not benefit any single development.