2019 Commerce Magazine Book_Cmmrc_PROOF1 - Page 13

Understanding a TIF the appropriate and necessary public support and assistance for the Meridian Technology Center Superintendent Doug Major joined development and enhancement of downtown Stillwater and the Cor- the City Council to thank them for taking the entity into account. ridor Redevelopment Area, as a special and unique place within Still- “We all know that in successful communities, all entities work together water to live, work, shop, and play. for economic development,” Major told the council. “We are grateful The original structure was adopted as it had been proposed, but after for the council’s willingness to reconsider the impact the TIF will an involved community discussion and attempted referendum, the have on Meridian Technology Center and other taxing jurisdictions. formula was amended to ensure no one is negatively impacted by In communities like Stillwater, strong partnerships among economic the TIF. This came in late November as interest in major projects development entities are key to ensuring future growth.” in the TIF district grew. The number of people interested in expanding or relocating to the “I think the entire process was improved by the vigorous debate in the public,” Joyce said. “It was being discussed, it was on City Council A TIF is an economic development tool to assist expanding and reinvesting while agendas, it was a topic at public meetings. Because of the debate, att racting high-tech and high-producing companies. It uses taxes generated by new eff ects of the TIF. It was a dynamic conversation between citizens growth and new development to incentivize future growth and development. S there weren’t many people in Stillwater who weren’t aware of the and their government to try to help everyone understand what Still- water needed and how this would aff ect everyone.” TIF district shows the future of reinvestment in Stillwater. “I am eager to see a developer make the fi rst move to put this in motion, but we won’t see it happen overnight,” Joyce said. “It takes time to be strategic and do things the right way. I have no doubt that we’ll start to see progress in 2019.” BY AUBRIE BOWL AN Joyce noted the cooperation and fl exibility it took on the part of upporters describe it as a welcome mat to developers, business Development Law. We’ve seen the local successes in other places in everyone involved to be willing to adapt and restructure the plan owners, employers and anyone looking at Stillwater as a place to Oklahoma and can learn from their processes.” based on this educational period. potentially do business. Joyce said the City Council’s land development subcommittee started “We considered many diff erent forms of improvement mechanisms, by getting input from local land developers, business owners, bankers and we identifi ed the tax increment fi nance district as the structure and everyone who might be aff ected by this process. that would work best for the city of Stillwater,” Mayor Will Joyce The purpose of the project, according to the City of Stillwater’s website, said. “We discussed how it would work, who would be aff ected, how we could mess it up, and we brought in the Center for Economic is to help the city achieve its development objectives by authorizing “With the TIF in place, we can communicate to developers that we want them in Stillwater, we are ready for them and we have the tools in place to help them be successful here.” – MAYOR WILL JOYCE 25 24 Since its passing in June 2018, Stillwater citizens have heard about the new Tax Increment Finance plan, but what exactly is it?