It appears Columbus will add another tax incremental financing district within the city.
On Aug. 6, the Committee of the Whole approved a resolution authorizing the creation of a TIF 5. The new TIF would help Columbus manufacturer G.D. Roberts and Company expand its business on the west side of the city.
City Administrator Patrick Vander Sanden said the city has discussed plans for a new TIF with owner Nathan Roberts.
“It’s an aggressive plan that we’re talking with him about,” Vander Sanden said. “In consideration with his plans, we’ve talked with Ehlers, our financial advisors and we’ve talked about it with our development team. We feel a tax incremental district is important, not only to address potential discussions with Nathan but to also address some of the parcels around him in future potential expansion and development, things that would utilize the tool the TID law affords us.”
Director of Planning and Development Matt Schreiber said the TIF would be a mixed-use district, giving Columbus flexibility in the future. Designating city property as a TIF helps provide tax incentives for companies looking to build or expand in that area. In turn, the city can recoup expenses for many years through property tax payments.
“If we ever needed to amend the property, we can do that so it would be commercial or industrial,” Schreiber said.
TIF 5 would be close to TIF 4 and the American Packaging Corporation. Schreiber said the city can have up to 12% of total equalized value in a TIF district. He said a special plan commission meeting is set for Aug. 29, along with a review board session, to discuss plans for the TIF. According to a map provided by the city, the proposed TIF includes seven land parcels.
The Committee moved approval to the next City Council meeting Aug. 20. The city will also conduct a study to analyze feasibility of the new TIF.
“We’ll be hearing more, hopefully, from Nathan Roberts,” Vander Sanden said. “Matt and I met with him last week and they’re formalizing the numbers. There should be a considerable amount of work that will follow with this.”
“It’s just getting started,” said Council President Andy Traxler.
Leak at community pool
Due to a small leak at the Columbus Area Aquatic Center pool, the pool will shut down for the season earlier than expected.
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Public Works Director Zach Navin said the pool will close for the season Aug. 25 at 7 p.m. Typically, the pool remains open through Labor Day, but due to the high cost of maintaining it with the leak, the city will close early. Navin said Public Works will also scale back pool hours in the coming weeks for less stress on the pool.
“We’re not really sure where it’s coming from yet; we have some ideas, but nothing can really be solidified until we have an empty pool,” Navin said. “Closing it early would allow us to drain the pool, see where the leak is, repair it and get it ready for next spring.”
The public works director said costs to keep adequate chlorine levels in the water are rising by the day. Water expenses are also going up. In addition, Navin said chlorine tablets are not working efficiently so pool managers are using a powder version.
“It’s called ‘shocking the system’ to help get the levels back to the appropriate level,” Navin said. “The concern with doing that is it spikes the levels to a much higher rate and you cannot do it with people in the pool.”
Council Member Ian Gray asked where the leaking water is going. Navin said it’s flushing into a storm water drainage system and not creating a sink hole. Navin said the pool was built to handle any possible leakage.
“We’re not concerned with it going into the storm water,” Navin said. “It’s been tested and is fine.”
Also on Tuesday, the Council approved the purchase of a pool vacuum that Recreation Director Amy Jo Meyers requested at the July 23 meeting.
“I support the plan to close early and have limited hours,” Traxler said. “The pool is a treasure to the city some communities do not have.”
Street work coming soon
At the Council meeting, Vander Sanden said construction work for 2019 street repairs will be starting soon. He said a road work schedule should be released this week.
“The stated goal at the pre-construction meeting was the contractor plans to have all the overlay work completed by the time school starts,” Vander Sanden said.
Mayor Mike Thom, in his report, said Columbus Area Senior Center is planning a 40th anniversary celebration for Aug. 25. The facility is the only senior center in Columbia County.