Stillwater News

Stillwater (Re)Investment Plan (A Stillwater-Campus Project Plan)

Released:Jun 21, 2018

MEDIA RELEASE

(Posted / June 21, 2018) – Stillwater (Re)Investment Plan Update: On Monday, June 18, 2018, the Stillwater City Council approved Ordinance No. 3407 by a vote of 4-1 (4 yes, 1 abstention by Councilor Alane Zannotti). No vote was taken on Section 16–Emergency Clause.


“I think this is a positive step forward for the city, for development, for the future of this community to keep us moving forward.” ~ Jonathan Udoka, Lawyer, 711 S. Husband St. (quote from the June 18 Stillwater City Council public comment)


The Project Plan supports the City’s efforts to achieve its development objectives, improve the quality of life for its citizens, stimulate private investment, and enhance the tax base with the goal of making possible investment that would be difficult without the adoption of the Project Plan and the apportionment of incremental ad valorem and sales tax revenues.

This funding mechanism moves the community from planning to implementation, and long-term future growth for the community is anticipated.


"It doesn't take much to see what happens if we do nothing ... and I just applaud the work that's gone in over the last year; looking at this issue and pushing forward in a way that seems to take everyone’s concerns into consideration as much as possible." ~ Jonathan Udoka


Resolution NO CC-2018-11––a Resolution of the City of Stillwater, Oklahoma, approving the policy guide for assistance in development financing for implementation of the Stillwater (Re)Investment Plan and Increment District No. 3––was tabled until further citizen input is gathered.


“There’s a new group of energy from Downtown merchants that are ready to support this.” ~ Chris Peters, Technologist for 1907 Meat Company (quote from the June 18 Stillwater City Council public comment)


To learn more about what the Plan will do, go to the Stillwater (Re)Investment Plan webpage or view a list of Facts about the Project Plan.

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Map of the Stillwater Reinvestment Project Plan Area and Increment District #3 Boundaries

Map of the Stillwater (Re)Investment Project Plan Area and Increment District #3 Boundaries (PDF)

(Posted / June 14, 2018) – Stillwater City Council will vote Monday, June 18, 2018, at 5:30 p.m. on the second reading of Resolution NO CC-2018-11, also known as the Stillwater (Re)Investment Plan (A Stillwater Downtown/Campus Link Project Plan), to create an ad valorem and a sales tax increment pursuant to the Oklahoma Local Development Act.

“This is the exact same collaborative process that Oklahoma City used to create Bricktown,” Mayor Will Joyce said. “Everyone—from citizens to civic leaders to local business owners to tourists—says this smart, forward-thinking action reinvigorated Oklahoma City and put it back on the map.”


» Why development is needed? “Let’s stop thinking short sighted … If the City of Stillwater wants to see this place be better and to grow, and to go somewhere other than where it currently is, we have to do something about it. I believe this TIF is that.” ~ Bobby Wintle, co-owner of District Bicycles (quote from the June 4 Stillwater City Council public hearing)


The Project Plan for the tax increment financing district (TIF)—which is bounded by Hall of Fame Avenue on the north, Lowry Street on the east, 15th Avenue on the south and Washington Street on the west—was studied by a citizen review committee for months and has been the subject of 10 public hearings.

The citizen review committee included representatives from each of the affected taxing jurisdictions (Stillwater Public Schools, Meridian Technology Center, Payne County, Payne County Health Department and the City of Stillwater). The committee voted 6 to 2 in favor of moving the Project Plan forward. The taxing jurisdictions objecting to the Project Plan did not hold public meetings to ask their constituents whether or not they want to see proactive investment in the community.


» What is a tax increment financing district (TIF)? TIFs are tools used by cities across the U.S. to promote economic development. TIFs allow cities to use a portion of property taxes (or, in some cases, sales taxes) generated within a district to invest in the district’s infrastructure, thereby providing an incentive for private investment.


The Project Plan encourages a cooperative effort from the affected taxing jurisdictions to benefit the community as a whole. Each jurisdiction will continue to receive the ad valorem taxes as currently distributed. However, new ad valorem revenue increases (or increments) will be deferred and reinvested in the project area for 25 years or until $32.5 million is reached, whichever comes first. 


» Does this plan cut money from Stillwater Public Schools, Payne County, Payne County Health and Meridian Technology Center's budgets? No. This Project Plan will only affect the size of potential growth of future budgets.

For example, Meridian currently collects about $12 million per year in tax revenue. Assuming the current growth the entire Meridian district continues (4 percent), next year their tax revenue will increase by nearly $500,000. If the TIF is approved, a mere $13,500 (less than 3 percent) of that brand new tax revenue would be invested in the future of Stillwater, leaving Meridian with $475,000+ of new revenue growth next year. So, even with the TIF, Meridian's tax revenue will increase next year. The effect on the Payne County and Stillwater Public Schools is the same.


» Who pays this tax? Property owners in the TIF district already pay property taxes on their property. They would see an increase in property tax only if the value of their property increases. This is not a citywide tax increase.


The Project Plan provides that each taxing jurisdiction, except the City, will split the first 12 percent of increment increase realized. All development projects proposed for this district will be reviewed by a citizen review committee and City Council before they can move forward.


» Who benefits? "This plan creates more local revenue for our schools and decreases our dependence on the state legislature. The SPS board voted unanimously to support this plan. They will have more operating revenue with the plan in place. The idea here is that all of the local entities collaborate to bring new businesses, new developments and increased property values to our community. It is ultimately an investment in the long-term health of our schools, Meridian, the county and the city." ~ Mayor Will Joyce


The mayor, however, is aware that there is some misinformation among the public, including that the process is without citizen approval or that the Project Plan for the TIF is illegal.

He explained that voters approved the process for creating tax increment districts in 1998. This law granted city councils the authority to create TIFs in areas that are unproductive, undeveloped, underdeveloped or blighted. The area for the Project Plan is already designated as such.


» Has Stillwater implemented a TIF before? An example of increment financing is located at Perkins and Lakeview roads, where Academy and the Walmart Neighborhood Market were developed in a vacant field four years ago. This development would have been next to impossible without the formation of the North Perkins Road TIF. The property value of the land within this district was $430,000 before the implementation of the TIF. Now the property value is $17.3 million.

The City of Stillwater made the initial investment with city sales tax dollars; however, Stillwater Public Schools, Payne County, Payne County Health and Meridian Technology received their share of the increased ad valorem from the new property value of $17.3 million.

The City of Stillwater and Payne County are also receiving new sales tax revenue from the retail on the new development.


If the Project Plan does not generate new development projects, the City Council can modify or cancel it at any time—without any impact.

Local governments can use tax increment financing to publicly finance needed structural improvements and enhanced infrastructure within a defined area to promote the viability of existing businesses and to attract new commercial enterprises to the area. Any funds the TIF generates would only be allocated for investment in the identified project district. These funds would not go into the City’s general fund.

The mayor said the public hearing from City Council’s June 4 meeting was interesting. “Most of the people who spoke in opposition to the creation of a TIF were the tax-receiving entities—not the tax-paying entities. This indicates that our taxpayers are willing and able to invest in Stillwater.”


» What is the vision? "I’m convinced we can make Stillwater a destination location for the future, but we have to have vision ... Stillwater’s economic parameters continue to widen and it appears we may be letting the interior–the heartbeat of our community–wane ... Stillwater can most assuredly become a place that my generation thinks of as a dynamic and experiential town of entertainment, dining and community. The TIF unleashes that potential.” ~ J Bryson Baker, owner and founder of EVERYMAN (quote from the June 4 Stillwater City Council public hearing)


In addition to generating much-needed funds, reinvestment in our community’s infrastructure will create jobs, hence the need for more workforce development and attendant earning potential. The mayor also pointed out that the reinvestment areas in Oklahoma City (Bricktown) and Tulsa (Brady Art District) generated growth on properties outside of their boundaries.

“Right now, the City of Stillwater is investing in infrastructure,” Mayor Joyce explained. “I’m not sure people know that the City is making significant investments in infrastructure projects like Water 2040 and development agreements within the southwest corridor that are facilitating development and enhancing property values.” One hundred percent of the ad valorem revenues these projects generate goes to Stillwater Public Schools, Meridian Technology Center, Payne County and the Payne County Health Department.


» "If we don’t invest in our community, who will?" ~ Mayor Joyce

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(Posted April 4, 2018) – The Stillwater (Re)Investment Plan (A Stillwater-Campus Project Plan is a project plan proposed to create an ad valorem and sales tax increment district in Stillwater pursuant to the Oklahoma Local Development Act. Download the following documents (PDFs) for more information about the proposed plan and upcoming public hearings.

Public Hearing Dates

  • Stillwater Planning Commission | Tuesday, April 17, 2018, at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Hearing Room at the Stillwater Municipal Building (723 S. Lewis St.)

  • Stillwater City Council | Monday, April 23, 2018, at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Hearing Room at the Stillwater Municipal Building (723 S. Lewis St.)

  • Stillwater City Council | Monday, June 4, 2018, at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Hearing Room at the Stillwater Municipal Building (723 S. Lewis St.) | Stillwater City Council

Documents

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For media inquiries, contact the Office of Marketing and Public Relations at 405.742.8362 or email news@stillwater.org.




Public Meetings 

  • Stillwater Planning Commission | Tuesday, April 17, 2018, at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Hearing Room at the Stillwater Municipal Building (723 S. Lewis St.)

  • 1st Public Hearing: Stillwater City Council | Monday, April 23, 2018, at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Hearing Room at the Stillwater Municipal Building (723 S. Lewis St.)

  • 2nd Public Hearing: Stillwater City Council | Monday, June 4, 2018, at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Hearing Room at the Stillwater Municipal Building (723 S. Lewis St.) 

  • Reading of Resolution NO CC-2018-11Stillwater City Council | Monday, June 18, 2018, at 5:30 p.m. in the Council Hearing Room at the Stillwater Municipal Building (723 S. Lewis St.) 

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