TIF battle in Ashland as development is proposed

Posted at 5:35 PM, Jul 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-03 20:47:12-04

A hotel, new restaurant and 150 new homes could pop up in Ashland as well as a new development.

However the sticking point for many people who live in Ashland is TIF or tax increment financing will be used on the project.

The area known as Whitetail Run just on the southwest corner of Highway 6 and 66 is where this proposed development would be located.

The developers purchased the property over a decade ago but now are ready to start digging.

“We're just trying to figure out how to get the infrastructure to that spot,” said Don Kracl an investor of the development team.

One way to help do that is the use of TIF according to Kracl because the city itself cannot afford the burden of paying for the high cost of bringing the sewer and water onto the property.

so the sewer and water have to come across the highway and quite some distance to get to the front door of the development.
It’s something city councilwoman Janece Mallhoff is in support of to help grow the city, Just something to draw more people from the interstate to Ashland.”

But signs across town reading “T.I.F. hurts our schools” shows glaring opposition to the financing tool. 

“We're all for development but just kind of how it went down,” said Staci Hubert who owns a pharmacy downtown and says TIF will pull money away from the schools, “All of the tax dollars going away from the school, the state and the state taxpayers are going to have to make up for it-is that really that fair?”

The Ashland-Greenwood school board voted unanimously against the TIF proposal sending a letter to the city council saying in part, “the board of education is concerned that TIF financing has the effect of removing such properties from the taxable valuation for the school district for the term of TIF…such removal of valuation thereby requires the remained of the taxpayers to fund the school district’s needs including the general fund, building fund, depreciation fund and any future bond issues for repair while the TIF is in effect.”

But Kracl disagrees saying only a small portion will impact the school district, “It's not going to hurt the schools, it's a fraction of what the school district has for as far as their value is concerned.”

Nearby businesses to the proposed development are also concerned for other reasons such as changing the makeup of Ashland.

“The quietness the tranquility and will that disrupt it with a little bit of noise and driving through an urban neighborhood right next door to us,” said Richard Hilske, owner of Cellar 426.

The Ashland city council will meet this coming Thursday to approve the annexation of the land and then it will be a lengthy process to approve the re-development of the area.