Tax plan could allow city to pay for new infrastructure projects

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WOOSTER — City Council is considering a plan that would pave the way for the city’s future economic development without hitting the pockets of Wooster residents deeply.

If approved, the plan would establish an additional tax increase in the Oak Hill Road, Milltown Road and Oldman Road area to pay for three infrastructure projects, according to the plan.

Those projects — sanitary sewer utilities and two roundabouts — would be paid for by residents of a proposed neighborhood through newly generated property taxes over an estimated 27-year period, according to the plan.

These new property taxes would also come from new economic developments like the Oak Hill Road neighborhood that would benefit from the improvements, said Jonathan Millea, economic development coordinator for the city.

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Millea described it this way. If someone pays $1 in property taxes, that money will fund various services in the area, including schools and municipal operations. If that property tax increases to $2, the second dollar will pay off all three projects, he said.

It would not impact or reduce existing tax revenue, Millea said.

In total, the additional tax financing district would pay nearly $8.6 million in improvements.

These projects will be rolled out in phases to test whether the proposed plan is working, starting with sanitary sewer utilities, Millea said.

Taxes generated in the district would reimburse Wooster as the project used money from the city budget. The city will initially pay for roundabouts with loans or bonds, he said.

Millea said a TIF district is the best way forward as funds were not available and grants were unable to cover costs.

More action at the Monday, February 7 meeting of the Wooster City Council

  • Membership fees for Melrose Drive residents will remain the same for those who wanted city discounts. The Board endorsed the Ratings Equalization Board’s recommendations not to alter the ratings, stating that the Board found no basis for their objections.
  • The council waived hearings for three new liquor licenses in the city, two of which will be used by Meijer. The third is for Cigar Vault LLC at 601 Portage Road.
  • E&H Hardware in downtown Wooster plans to use a permanent easement to build a 44-inch by 30-inch propane cage in the driveway between the Quinby and McClure buildings. According to city council member Barbara Knapic, the Wooster Fire Department has no concerns about the location of the cage.
  • Council approved a contract payment for Wayne County services provided by the County Attorney’s Office. It’s a two-year deal that’s due in its second year in 2022. It will drop from $83,000 to $85,000 in the next contract, according to the city council.
  • The city will make an announcement to hire a contractor to rebuild Melrose Drive. The project is estimated at $3.86 million.
  • The city will announce to hire a contractor to replace 1,000 linear feet of water pipes with a history of leaks and ruptures with eight-inch ductile pipes along Griffen Drive. This will cost the city $200,000 from the water fund.
  • Three new police cars will be purchased for a total of $147,000. These will replace cars one and four and an unmarked vehicle. The old vehicle will be sold.

Following: The Council will meet on Tuesday 22 February.

Contact Bryce by email at [email protected]

On Twitter: @Bryce_Buyakie

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