City of Huntington Using Tax Increment Financing Effectively

The Redevelopment Commission of the City of Huntington, supported by the Mayor, City Council and the entire economic development community is using Tax Increment Financing or TIF to effectively improve the quality of life and employment opportunities for City residents.  According to statements reported in the Huntington Herald-Press, TIF was first used in Huntington in 1988 and the six City Administrations following to create new opportunities, private investment and jobs for the City.
Between the years 2008-2014 more than $44 million in private capital has been invested and encouraged by the use of TIF.  For every $1.00 of public support in local TIF districts, the private sector invested $17.00.  Bryn Keplinger of the City's Redevelopment Commission remarked, "If that's not a powerful economic development tool, I really don't know what is."
Once a TIF "district" is established, it freezes the assessed value of the area for the purposes of property taxation.  Those entities which had historically been receiving property tax revenues from that "base" continue to receive the same payments as always.  When growth occurs in those defined "districts" the incremental increase in the assessed value is captured by the "district" as managed by the Redevelopment Commission, in order to pay for the bonds required to provide infrastructure to the projects.  The result is that the actual companies developing in those districts finance the costs of the infrastructure instead of passing those costs along to the general or residential property taxpayers.  
On Tuesday, February 10, 2015, the Huntington City Common Council voted unanimously to authorize up to $7 million in new bonds which will be used to make numerous improvements to neighborhoods, flood control projects, gateway corridors, several upgrades to Memorial Park including a new Veterans Memorial and new trails and river greenway projects.
"Regardless of changes in the economic pressures over the years, Huntington is clearly, without argument, a better place to live and work in part because of the use of TIF,"  said Mark Wickersham, Executive Director of Huntington County Economic Development.  "The list of business and industries, jobs, and capital investments which have taken place since 1988, supported by TIF, is significant.  The State Statutes which created TIF allow local control of the process.  It is up to locally elected officials to be sure it's used properly.  When it is used correctly, TIF is a very effective financing tool to help a Community be a better place to live and work," Wickersham concluded.