Planning Commission puts stamp on Downtown Campus Link TIF project

City of Stillwater

A near yearlong effort to spur economic development in Stillwater could be approved Monday night.

The Stillwater City Council will hold its second public hearing regarding the Stillwater Downtown Campus Link Project Plan. The meeting is slated for 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Council Hearing Room of the Stillwater Municipal Building.

The plan involves the creation of a tax increment financing district (TIF).

The council will hear public comments, discuss and has the option to vote on items under public hearing.

A TIF is a public financing strategy that uses tax collections within a defined area to create funding for future development. Ad valorem – or property – taxes and sales taxes that exceed the current threshold would be collected and used at the City Council’s discretion to incentivize city development. In Stillwater, the Council will create an advisory committee to bring ideas and recommendations to the Council.

The defined area is Hall of Fame Avenue on the north, Lowry Street on the east, 15th Street on the south and Washington Street on the west.

“I think a lot of people in town recognize the need for community to take an ambitious approach to the core redevelopment to create a long-term strategic plan that will generate more tax revenue and creates long-term growth plan for the city,” Mayor Will Joyce told the News Press last month. Joyce was Chairperson of the Stillwater Downtown/Campus Link Project Plan.

The project plan was put together and voted on by a committee. The few votes against the plan were by representatives from Meridian Technology Center and Payne County government.

Arguments against the TIF center on the defined area, which has seen redevelopment recently and stands to benefit the TIF while cutting out certain entities that rely on sales or ad valorem tax from receiving the additional tax revenue the redevelopment creates.

“It costs the county quite a bit of money, at least $700,000 at a time we are having a hard time making expenses,” Chris Reding, Payne County District 2 Commissioner told the News Press last month. “We are getting more and more responsibility from State, but with less money to do so.”

Before the public hearing, Amy Dzialowski will be sworn in as the newest City Councilor. The Council will be whole for the first time since the April mayoral election.