Bowling Green agency chosen to assist Sylvania on downtown TIF

·2 min read

Sep. 24—If Sylvania city officials approve a TIF in its downtown area by the end of the year, as leaders have said is their goal, it will be the city's first such tax district.

To help officials set up the plan they want, Reveille, an economic development agency based in Bowling Green, has been brought on board in an advisory role. Glenn Grisdale, the company's principal owner, has assisted with numerous other municipalities in establishing Tax-Increment Financing districts.

"I want to do it right," said Bill Sanford, Sylvania's economic development director. "We think [Mr. Grisdale] brings an expertise we don't have."

Tax-increment financing is a mechanism that allows certain districts within municipalities to dedicate increased tax revenues to public-works projects within the district. The city would control revenue collected through the TIF, which is derived from any increase in property value within the district.

Property owners within the special district wouldn't pay any new taxes, and Mr. Grisdale said only commercial properties would be counted for the additional revenue.

"They've worked well," he said about the use of TIFs throughout the state. "They're actually really common."

Boundaries of a Sylvania TIF have not yet been officially determined, Mr. Grisdale said, but he pointed to areas off Monroe and Main streets that drew focus in a downtown Sylvania master plan released this year.

The goal is to collect about $2 million to $3 million over a set number of years for a new streetscape downtown.

"They have to identify at the very beginning of the creation of the TIF how they want to use the money," he said.

And city approval of a TIF before next year, when the Lucas County triennial update revises property assessments after a countywide reappraisal, could allow the city to make gains in TIF revenue.

"If we get this TIF done by the end of the year, we can benefit naturally from the increase in taxes," Mr. Grisdale said.

Sylvania City Council approved Monday a resolution bringing Reveille and Mr. Grisdale on board.

Also during that meeting, the city council unanimously rejected a proposed telecommunications tower at Northview High School.

The tower plan attracted widespread neighborhood opposition on the grounds it would be an eyesore that could reduce nearby property values, along with a less-common fear it might topple over, catch fire, or drop icicles on unsuspecting passers-by during the winter.

Councilman Doug Haynam said he could not recall any other time on council when any issue received a unanimous rejection.

"Obviously council didn't think it was an appropriate use," he said. "Clearly there was no support."

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