I'm the candidate to keep our Fire and Police departments strong.
Simply put Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a way for city council to modify property taxes so that cities can improve their infrastructure. The original definition of infrastructure meant roads, bridges and sewers. But somewhere along the line someone decided other building projects should qualify. The bottom line though is that once the a property is declared a TIF property most of the money collected in taxes can't be used for operational needs such as salaries for city workers, payments for utilities or gas for safety vehicles. Alternatively you can say that by creating TIF districts council can manufacture a operating budget crises and make it so there is limited money to pay Police and Firefighters. As an example lets look at Wal-Mart's property taxes. Currently, there are 3.7 mils of voter approved property tax dedicated to Police and Fire Funds. This year Wal-Mart will pay $497 in property tax to these funds. This number would be $13,258 except council has diverted $12,761 to pay for the Aquatic and Music centers. Think of how much total is diverted knowing that Meijer's, Lowes, Target, etc, etc all have most of their property taxes diverted.
Turns out City Council is so fixated with putting as much money and as many properties into TIF Funds they are in danger of running out of money for essential services like snow removal and park maintenance. For instance the I-70 interchanges were the original reason to create the TIF district. Council figured out that they could refinance that debt so it could be paid using the gas tax. With the gas tax tied up paying off the interchanges we can't use it to pave Nebraska or any side streets on that side of the city. Even worse the city did not need to put the new Alcore assisted living facility into a TIF district in order to get that business to come to Huber Heights. Even so, they decided to divert the taxes from that $17 million facility away from Fire and Police to pay for the new Music Center.
Here is a how I computed the Wal-Mart numbers.
If we go to the Montgomery County Auditor webpage and select Property Search at the top we can search by Owner Name (Wal-mart) and find that there are two listings for the Huber Heights store.
We're going to look at both entries and find that the first one gives us the property tax they pay toward police and fire service ($496). We will use the second listing to compute how much they would pay ($$13,258) if council wasn't diverting most of it to pay for the Aquatic and Music Centers. When we click on the first property and look at the tax summary and you'll see that the entire Wal-Mart property is assessed at $384,140 (35% is $134,450).
Obviously, this is low so lets look at the bottom entry. It shows a value of $9,875,440 (35% is $3,456,400).
Now lets look at the Levy Distribution. We see for the bottom entry there is --No Data--
Going back to the first and looking at the Levy Distribution and we can see a break out. I am most interested in the Police and Fire levies.
The Sub-Total contains an Inside Millage of 1.5% that is not police and fire. Subtracting this out and you see that the total millage for city police and fire is 3.7% and the total property tax collected for Fire and Police is $496.41.
Looking at this information I conclude that the first property card and the taxes shown in the Levy Distribution represent the value of the land before the TIF district was created. The bottom property card represent the value of the property since the TIF district was created and so all these taxes get diverted to the TIF fund. By using the values in the first card and plugging in the property values given in the second card we can compute the tax that normally would go to Police and Fire but are instead going to pay for recreation sites.
I created a spreadsheet and determined that the millage shown on the auditor's site computes the tax using the 35% value. Doing the calculation we see $12,761.50 of Walmart's normal contribution to Fire and Police funds are being diverted to pay for recreational facilities.