WEST MILTON — Plans for the Stillwater Crossing development are moving ahead unchanged after the Milton-Union school board declined to approve financing for the project, Municipal Manager Matt Kline confirmed for the village council Tuesday night.
The board informed council last week of its decision not to approve the proposed tax increment financing (TIF) plan for the development, citing concerns about rising costs associated with student population growth.
The village will instead move forward with a non-school TIF, which does not require school district approval.
According to Kline, the development agreement only requires the creation and passage of a TIF, but does not specify what kind of TIF. No changes will need to be made to the agreement, he said.
“This decision was not surprising and we would again like to thank them for their consideration,” Kline said of the board.
A non-school TIF means that the school will receive the full property tax amount that is due to them as properties in the development join the tax rolls, Kline explained.
“This is a unique situation for West Milton — a development which will create jobs, allow for an age-in-place for our senior citizens, and will fill the market need for new home construction,” he said.
The TIF will overlap with the village’s community reinvestment area (CRA), which, according to the state’s Development Services Agency, is a program that abates property taxes for improved properties for a period of time, usually between 10 and 15 years. The CRA program provides tax exemptions to property owners who renovate or construct new buildings in a certain area.
“Once that abatement ends, that property will then join the tax rolls and the non-school TIF will kick in, making sure to keep the school whole, while the remaining property tax dollars go toward the debt for the public infrastructure,” Kline said.
He added that the village will not be liable for any of the debt taken on for the public improvements, explaining that the debt is the sole responsibility of the developer.
“This is an exciting time for West Milton for the potential to grow our local tax base, create jobs, improve our residential inventory, and give council the future opportunity to perhaps revisit the income tax credit and maybe reconsider giving some of the credit back to our taxpayers,” Kline said.
Council honored the owners of Wertz Variety Store, which celebrates 90 continuous years in business this year.
A proclamation celebrating the milestone described the local landmark as being “as American as apple pie, hot dogs and baseball.”
Members of the Wertz Family accepted the proclamation from council Tuesday night.
Kline also provided council with an update on utility aggregation, explaining that many, but not all residents have received notification from Constellation Energy regarding gas aggregations.
Residents who are currently enrolled in a gas program have not been contacted by Constellation, Kline said. Those who are not will be contacted by the company with information about their program. More information about the Constellation natural gas program will also be posted to the village Facebook page, he added.
“There’s no deadline for joining the aggregation program, so you can come and go on either the gas or electric as you choose,” Councilman Jason Tinnerman said.
All residents should have received a letter regarding electric aggregation in their April water bill, Kline said.
In other business, council approved an ordinance amending the village’s code concerning loud noises to permit ice cream trucks to play music.
The resolution described the songs played by ice cream trucks as “the traditional sounds of summer” and part of “childhood memories.”
The ordinance changes the code to add an acceptable distance at which sounds from vendors could be heard, which would allow ice cream trucks to play music while driving through neighborhoods. The village adopted an ordinance similar to Troy’s, allowing a distance of 75 feet from the source of the sound.
Reach Cecilia Fox at [email protected]