City Commissioners on Monday voted to approve an agreement with the Center for Economic Development Law (CEDL) to review and possibly update the City’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District.

City Commissioners on Monday voted to approve an agreement with the Center for Economic Development Law (CEDL) to review and possibly update the City’s Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District.

Shawnee has one tax increment financing district that was established in 2003 to support downtown revitalization efforts. The district is set to expire at the 15-year mark. Over the last 13 years, the TIF District has generated approximately $692,000 to help fund streetscape efforts.

Now that the Downtown Streetscape Project is complete, City Manager Justin Erickson is using the opportunity to re-evaluate the TIF District boundaries, purpose, project scope and timing to ensure that City and community goals for downtown revitalization are met. The CEDL assisted the city in 2002-2003, when the District was established and Erickson believes they are the most appropriate firm to assist with a potential revision.

“It's a very good time to revisit where we're at, our boundaries, and where and how funding could be utilized in the future to continue the momentum that we have,” Erickson said.

He said the city has options right now since the current district has not yet expired.

State law actually allows districts to extend up to 25 years, Erickson said.

“One of the things we can discuss is if it makes sense to sunset the district, start fresh, modify it and/or extend it,” he said. “I certainly don't have any pre-conceived notions about what might be the best avenue — this would be so we can explore our options.”

Erickson said the process would include a review committee established by the City Commission at some point. All taxing jurisdictions will be included and the process will be collaborative and open, he said.

“You would see this front and center a number of times over the next few months,” he said. “It would probably be wrapped up toward the end of the calendar year.”

Erickson said city staff plans to conduct as much work in-house as possible, helping to stretch available funding. There is around $36,000 in the City’s TIF District fund at present eligible to pay for this work, he said; it is estimated to cost approximately $30,000.

Ward 5 City Commissioner Lesa Shaw made a motion to cap the potential expenditure at $30,000, due to language in the engagement letter that hinted at a potential for added cost.

Erickson said the amount of work staff can do in-house to support this effort makes him confident it can be achieved for the $30,000.

Also, Mayor Richard Finley said the Shawnee Economic Development Foundation (SEDF) has indicated support of the proposal, as well.

Shaw's motion was approved unanimously by the board.

Erickson said the project should take about four months to complete.

You can reach Vicky O. Misa at (405) 214-3962.