The Oklahoma City Council last week approved a $25 million budget increase for Tax Increment Finance (TIF) 2. Cathy O’Connor, president of the Alliance for Economic Development, told council members that TIF 2 has exceeded expectations, reflecting the quick pace and sizable impact of downtown development.
Authorized in the state constitution as a way cities can spur economic growth and eliminate blight, TIFs capture increased property taxes within a specified area and put that money toward economic development or improvements.
Among the budget increases for TIF 2, which was established in 2007, were:
—$10 million more for residential projects ($16 million has been allocated to date, and the project fund has a balance of $13.9 million),
—$10 million more for hotel and retail/commercial projects ($20 million allocated to date with $9.8 million remaining) and
—$5 million for other public development.
“We are seeing better gains in property tax values and the ability to allocate more money to projects. We believe we will continue to receive more requests for projects,” O’Connor said. “There are some really encouraging things going on in downtown Oklahoma City, and the success of TIF 2 is one of those indicators.”
The data wasn’t entirely rosy.
The council approved an $18 million budget reduction for TIF 8. That district, which surrounds the Devon tower and is mostly used for the Project 180 downtown streetscape and park redesign, has generated less sales tax revenue than expected.
The city also amended TIF 8 to dissolve the Devon Implementation Committee and include a definition for “other economic development” in its TIF documents.
Other items involved the TIFs mostly involved approving allocations and included:
—$100,000 from TIF 2 for downtown sidewalks,
—$750,000 from TIF 2 for general infrastructure improvement in Bricktown,
—$2.1 million in funding and an $800,000 low-interest loan from TIF 2 for a developer to renovate the Century Center,
—$1.5 million from TIF 8 to the Oklahoma Publishing Company for Century Center improvements when OPUBCO offices move downtown,
—$1 million from TIF 2 to the Central Oklahoma Transportation and Parking Authority for improvements to the parking area at the Century Center and the Santa Fe Parking Garage,
—$1.25 million from TIF 2 for Oklahoma County’s parking garage,
—$500,000 from TIF 2 to convert part of Bricktown’s Mideke Building into residential spaces, and —$500,000 from TIF 2 to improve alleyways in the Cottage District.