BY JESSICA STEELEY
Clarkston News Staff Writer
The Independence Township Board is having a public hearing this coming Tuesday, Aug. 22, to propose extending the Sashabaw Corridor Improvement Authority (CIA) Tax Increment Finance (TIF) from 2020 to 2029.
“We’re not looking for one penny more than what was initially approved. What we are looking for is the extension of time,” Township Supervisor Pat Kittle said. “There is no increase in taxes for anybody who lives in the TIF district and/or who does business in the TIF district.”
The extension is needed because of the recent economic downturn and reduction of commercial real estate values within the CIA district, Kittle said.
The current CIA plan for Sashabaw that is due to expire in 2020 will not generate enough TIF capture to complete the last phase of the corridor improvement plan, the widening of North Sashabaw from Flemings Lake north to Clarkston Road, he said.
“[Sashabaw Road’s] in dire straits right now, it is full of pot holes and it is inadequate for the traffic volumes that we currently have traveling north,” Kittle said. “Widening it would hopefully improve the chances for those properties on the west side of the street to become more marketable and then ultimately become developed, which would just aid in the TIF capture.”
The township has been working with the County Economic Development Team to extend the current CIA deadline from 2020 to 2029 and slightly modify the CIA TIF district, he said.
Funds from the extension will go towards the $5.6 million north Sashabaw Road widening project. The project will widen Sashabaw to five lanes from Flemings Lake Road to Clarkston Road.
When the Corridor Improvement Authority (CIA) was created in 2006, the Township estimated they would receive $3 million from the respective taxing authorities. So far, they’ve collected just over 25% of that $3 million.
Since 2006 the CIA has completed three projects on Sashabaw. The first was the construction on Sashabaw from Clarkston Road to Maybee Road. The second was the Sashabaw/I-75 interchange where an exit ramp was added to serve northbound I-75 traffic to southbound Sashabaw Road. The last was adding dual left-hand turn lanes to northbound Sashabaw and eastbound Waldon.
Combined these projects cost over $10 million. Funding for these kinds of road construction projects comes from a variety of sources including the CIA’s TIF.
“The CIA created an avenue for the other authorities to donate and help complete these improvements,” Township Director of Assessing Kim Feigley said.
Kittle said the extension could end before 2029. “We have to stop it in 2029 based on this new modification proposal. It would be my hope that with commercial growth on Sashabaw that we could complete the work even earlier.”
“We’re not asking for more money, but we’re asking for more time to collect that $3 million,” Feigley added.