Trustees seek school board’s OK on TIF usage

CALCUTTA — St. Clair Township trustees are looking for the blessing of the Beaver Local Board of Education as it plans to handle some infrastructure work with one of the township’s Tax Increment Funds (TIF) districts closing next year.

During Monday’s school board meeting, township Trustee James Sabatini provided an update on TIF District I, an agreement made nearly 20 years ago between the township and the school district to which a portion of the real estate taxes is diverted to the township for purposes of infrastructure projects, namely McGuffey Drive.

St. Clair Township currently holds two TIF districts, the second district involved no school taxes going into that fund and goes toward commercial matters. The schools are not involved in TIF II.

TIF District I, which started Aug. 31, 1999, per an agreement with both parties, is set to expire Aug. 31, 2019. TIF II — which started in 2004 — goes on until 2024.

Sabatini informed the board there was a debt service on McGuffey Road, which was paid through TIF money, but added the township had aggressively attempted to pay off the debt service in a timely manner.

He said by doing so, the debt will be paid off in October, 10 months ahead of schedule, so the township can handle any cleanup efforts in other matters, but not without the board’s approval.

“Part of the reason for that, the concept behind doing that have a little bit of time to do some cleanup housework on McGuffey, some other improvements, like line-striping, repaving, some wetlands mitigation that need addressed,” Sabatini explained. “Those were some things that we thought we could continue on until the end of August 2019 with those monies.”

Sabatini presented the board with a resolution that would give the township the ability to handle that cleanup work, but said it is up to the school board to allow the township to be able to use funds for any additional matters related to McGuffey Drive, to which funds from TIF 1 can only be used. Once the TIF ends, the school district would receive back their portion of the TIF, which is about 65 percent or $85,000 per year.

“That resolution that the school board would pass, if you see to do so, would give us that ability to continue with that, and in August 2019, the TIF would end, and you would be getting your portion of the TIF back to you,” he said.

Sabatini added once the TIF ends, the schools will receive their money either in the second half of 2019 or first half of 2020, but the board will need to make a decision by Oct. 1 at the recommendation of the township’s legal counsel handling TIF districts.

“We’re just asking for your blessing to do that,” Sabatini said.

While reviewing the resolution, board member Greg Eisenhart commented it did not state in the legislation when the TIF starts and ends, to which Sabatini said he will speak with their legal counsel for better clarification.

“One of the things that bothers me is that there is no dates in this resolution about when it starts and when it ends,” Eisenhart said. “Not that I’m against doing it, I’d just like to see some dates in.”

The board will review the resolution further and may conduct a special meeting prior to the requested Oct. 1 deadline.