Bainbridge Township Trustees Monday took a step toward developing a tax increment financing district for the East Washington Street corridor. It would also include an area on Chillicothe Road (Route 306) to the South Russell border.

The goal of the district, known as a TIF, is to encourage economic development and redevelopment, officials said.

On Monday, township trustees approved documenting parcels in that area and plan to send a notice to the schools that the TIF is being established.

Trustee Jeff Markley has taken on that duty and when that is prepared, they will notify the Kenston Local School District, the Auburn Career Center and the Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School District which includes the Knowles Industrial Park area.

“We have a whole list of properties that will be included and we will notify the schools,” he said.

The process is to calculate predevelopment to post development, Mr. Markley noted. New development provides more income for the schools.

With a TIF, property tax revenues can be used to create and promote economic development. A TIF can be set up by cities, villages, townships and counties to promote economic development, and can be used to divert property tax revenues to a special fund for specific uses, according to Mr. Markley. He was expected to complete the documents for notification by the end of this week.

When a property increases in value in a TIF district of $50,000 or more, the tax money can go into the TIF and those funds can be used to pay for building infrastructure such as utility lines or roads in a specific area to attract or assist developers, according to Geauga County Auditor Charles Walder.

It will be similar to the TIF established for the former Geauga Lake park area and surrounding commercial area last year, Mr. Markley said.

When a business generates an increase of $50,000 or more in property taxes, those funds will be directed to the TIF fund, he said. It reflects the increase in the taxes as a result in an increase in property values.

After properties are reappraised at a higher value, the difference goes to the TIF fund. “The TIF fund will enable us to put in something like a turning lane, sidewalk or better signage,” he said. “It gives us an opportunity to capture that additional stream of revenue and utilize it for the benefit of the district.”

The new Discount Drug Mart store on Washington Street would be a part of the TIF and the property values have likely increased, officials said.

Once the tax money goes into the TIF, the township trustees can determine the use of the funds. It is paid at the same time and manner as real estate taxes.

It would help improve the existing condition of properties and increase the overall value of the land, Mr. Markley said.

The township could collect 75 percent of the increased value for up to 10 years after the improvement is made, or up to 30 years in a partnership with the schools, he noted.

The township normally gets somewhat less than 20 percent of the property taxes collected compared to as much as 75 percent with a TIF district, Mr. Markley said.

A Tax Incentive Review Council would be formed by the Geauga County auditor, Bainbridge Township Trustees and school board representatives. The review council would do an annual review of properties to determine the true increase in value of all the parcels. “The difference will be defined by the auditor’s office, and the amount of increased revenue will be deposited in the TIF, to my understanding,” Mr. Markley said.

Discount Tire and Sherwin Williams stores on Aurora Road (Route 43) are the most recent businesses to be placed in the TIF formed in 2018 for the former Geauga Lake Park area.

The extra dollars from that area could be used for projects such as a possible pedestrian walkway across Aurora Road, which has been requested, Mr. Markley said.

The TIF at the former Geauga Lake Park property and surrounding commercial area is seen as a way to stimulate improvements. Money from the TIF funding could be used to pay for such projects at Geauga Lake such as board walks, boat access, parks and playgrounds for public use.

When the former Geauga Lake Park is developed, it would generate a significant amount of TIF money for those projects, Mr. Markley said. And new development provides more income for the schools, he added.

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