BELLBROOK — Negotiations in relation to emergency services at the Cornerstone of Centerville development have hit an impasse.
The break in talks between Sugarcreek Township and Centerville officials comes after township officials recently submitted a “final offer” to the city that would see Centerville paying $4.1 million to the township for emergency services to the Cornerstone of Centerville development over a 30-year period.
At issue is how much Centerville would pay Sugarcreek Township for fire and emergency medical service at Cornerstone, which is on Centerville-annexed land but is still in the township.
Included in the township’s proposal was an additional $1.4 million payment to reimburse the township for a TIF (tax increment financing) district the city wants the township to drop. The township’s current TIF is in relation to improvements on Clyo Road.
“They want to be able to activate a TIF to divert taxes for 30 years to pay for all their infrastructure and development costs,” Sugarcreek Township Administrator Barry Tiffany said. “We already have a TIF on the properties out there, and it is actually starting to produce some TIF revenue now.”
TIFs are typically used by local governments to finance public infrastructure improvements. When a TIF is approved, it locks in the taxable worth of property contained in a particular district. Taxes derived from increased assessed value resulting from the improvements are then directed to a specific fund, in this case, the township’s road projects.
The township is asking that the city reimburse it for the $1.4 million in taxes that would be collected through the TIF for township roads if it wants the township to drop the district. Those funds are a sticking point for Centerville officials.
“This latest addition where the township wants the city to pick up over a million dollars in expenses to pay for their road costs, frankly, makes no sense to us,” Centerville Mayor Mark Kingseed said.
Kingseed added that the city will not accept the township’s offer and will propose another offer in the coming days.
According to Tiffany, township trustees will consider Centerville’s final offer “and then explore our options from that point.”
The two sides were set to meet Tuesday night to work on the deal, but township trustees canceled the meeting after “Centerville officials have remained firm in their position,” Tiffany wrote in a release.
“… The Board of Trustees decided that additional discussions would not yield positive results at this time,” Tiffany wrote. “While the process has seen some successes, we find that we may be at an impasse on finalizing an agreement that would represent the best interests of our community.”
Negotiations between the sides began years ago, but heated up in November of 2014 when township trustees created a new fire district that excluded the Cornerstone development and portions of nearby public roads including Interstate 675, Feedwire Road, Brown Road and Dille Road.
That action set off a series of lawsuits, motions and mediation sessions, all aimed at creating some sort of resolution. The township ultimately rescinded the fire district and has agreed to provide fire and EMS service to the area, but that didn’t bring closure to the issue.
Negotiations resumed earlier this past summer and the sides seemed cautiously optimistic at the time.
This story contains contributions from Scott Halasz and our partners at WDTN 2 News.