CRESTVIEW — Establishing a Tax Increment Financing district is the best way of funding a proposed P.J. Adams Parkway-Antioch Roadbypass corridor, local officials say.
"We could look at taking a portion of future ad valorem revenues coming into the city so we could set them aside for transportation improvements," attorney Mike Chesser said.
Under the plan, proposed TIF districts would encompass Okaloosa County’s northern half at county level, and the entire city of Crestview except for the Community Redevelopment Agency district, which already has a funding source comparable to a TIF.
TIFs would not result in increased taxes, officials said, but would direct any additional taxes raised above an established baseline toward the district.
The Crestview City Council on Monday expressed favor for the concept and unanimously directed city planning staff to continue researching the idea.
A TIF would be a proactive way of locally raising funds and using them to attract matching state or federal funds, officials said during Monday’s city council meeting. As road improvements funded by the TIF attract more development, more ad valorem taxes would flow to the city and expand TIF dollars.
"What this does is put you on a long-term plan to solve a transportation issue," said Dr. Rod Lewis, of the Haas Center for Business Research and Economic Development at the University of West Florida.
Crestview’s TIF could generate as much as $33 million over 20 years, Haas said. The county TIF would add $47 million.
The $80 million raised locally would allow the P.J. Adams project to qualify for a $60 million bond at a 5 percent discount rate, Crestview city planner Eric Davis stated in a briefing memo.
Now that State Road 123 expansion has been funded, "The Number 1 priority for the (Transportation Planning Organization) of Okaloosa and Walton Counties is open," Davis said.
To assure the P.J. Adams bypass moves into that slot, the city must demonstrate it has a plan to help support the project, Davis said.
"P.J. Adams is our No. 1 priority in this county," Public Works director John Hofstad said. "It's a $100 million project but our budget in Public Works is approximately $15 million a year. It's going to take a multi-jurisdictional effort."
Council President Robyn Helt cautioned that other funding sources should also be researched, especially considering funding for S.R. 123 "miraculously appeared" after regional legislators pushed for it.
Though the often-discussed bypass project has been inching its way toward the top of the county's projects list, funding is unavailable and construction might not occur for 20 or more years.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.