Wheeling City Council Votes To Combine TIF Districts
photo by: Photo by Eric Ayres
WHEELING — Wheeling city officials on Tuesday finalized steps needed to combine two tax increment financing districts in the city, creating a new resource for funding needed for future projects in Center Wheeling.
During Tuesday night’s Wheeling City Council meeting, members unanimously approved legislation to combine the downtown TIF district with the TIF district that encompasses the former Ohio Valley Medical Center campus, which was acquired by the city of Wheeling after the hospital’s 2019 closure.
A TIF district uses growth in property taxes within a certain area to help finance improvements within that district.
Public hearings on ordinances pertaining to the TIF district actions were held, but no one came to speak on the matter. Officials said this measure is another groundbreaking step Wheeling is taking to help move the city forward.
“The city of Wheeling is the first local government in the state of West Virginia to take advantage of legislation that was passed two years ago that permitted the beneficial combination of two TIF districts,” Wheeling City Manager Robert Herron said, noting that the city’s downtown TIF district was created in 2003 and is the first property tax increment financing district in the state formed via a voter-approved constitutional amendment in 2003. “It is a strong and successful district with numerous economic development projects to its credit.”
photo by: Photo by Eric Ayres
On the other hand, the TIF district around OVMC had been in a position to generate funds for projects like the needed repairs to the nearby Center Wheeling Parking Garage. However, since the hospital ceased operations, a big economic engine in that section of town is no longer churning.
But that doesn’t mean the combination of the two TIF districts will not be mutually beneficial.
“While the OVMC TIF district is not as viable due to the unfortunate closing of the hospital, this ordinance will provide benefits to both districts for many years to come,” Herron said. “This combination will allow the city to receive the benefit of the OVMC district’s later expiration date — from 2023 to 2047. This will enable the financing of several additional known projects, as well as future projects that are unknown at this time.”
Opening up new avenues for financing needed projects in these areas will ultimately help city leaders bring economic improvements to Wheeling without creating major impacts for new capital expenditures on the city’s annual budget.
“By combining the city’s existing TIF districts, the city of Wheeling is once again at the forefront of West Virginia municipal economic development,” Councilman Jerry Sklavounakis said. “Combining the city’s TIF districts gives the city much needed flexibility in allocating our budget in a way that will allow the city to continue to provide not only economic development services in our downtown district but also municipal services throughout the Friendly City.”
Wheeling City Council conducted its regular meeting Tuesday night with a quorum, but with a number of members absent. Vice Mayor Chad Thalman presided over the meeting, with council members Sklavounakis, Rosemary Ketchum and Dave Palmer in attendance. Mayor Glenn Elliott and Councilmen Ben Seidler and Ty Thorngate were not present.
“Mayor Elliott is attending a brownfields conference on behalf of the city, and he regrets he cannot be here,” Thalman said.