Fort Mill school trustees shot down a request Tuesday from Tega Cay officials to help with economic development in the city by forming a TIF District.

City Manager Charlie Funderburk spoke to trustees again Tuesday night, asking them to participate in a TIF district, which would allow the city to incentivize much-needed commercial growth in the Dam Road area of School District. (TIF stands for Tax Increment Financing.)

   The school district could have done this by giving up a percentage of future tax revenues in that district to help support debt payments on public infrastructure.  The latest proposal brought to the school district would have supported about $12 million in borrowing while yielding about $1.5 million in new money for the district.  

   Once the debt is retired in 15 years, the District would stand to collect over $2 million a year from the development in commercial and residential property taxes, Funderburk said.

   But school trustees unanimously voted no after an executive session to discuss the proposal. They made no comment on why.

   The city is working to assist in building a development in Dam Road area to bring a theater, sports complex, hotel, retail and office space and medical facilities.  The development is also permitted up to 410 dwelling units, the bulk of which are town homes.

   “It’s an amazing mixed-use development centered around the type of commercial growth our city needs.  It fits perfectly with our Comprehensive Plan and will be a financial asset not only to the City, but to the County and School District as well,” Funderburk said about the project.

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   He also said the city reached out to the school district because they are the highest taxing entity in Tega Cay at 343.3 mills as compared to the City’s 89 mills.  

   “Doing a TIF makes great financial sense.  The numbers speak for themselves.  Without the enormous millage from the school district, it just doesn’t work.  The property isn’t of high value and will probably sit vacant for a while without assistance,” Funderburk said. 

   At the end of the day, each of the over-lapping entities would bring in more revenue over the next 5-10 years by participating in a TIF than any of them would by waiting for this developer or another to try and do something, Funderburk said.   The city has always been a support of the Fort Mill School District and will continue to be, the city manager said. 

   “We had hoped they would have supported us on this.  The project isn’t dead yet,” he said. “The TIF was probably the easiest solution.  We’ll go back to the drawing board with our City Council and financial team and come up with a new plan to make sure this development happens sooner rather than later.”

Greg "Ricky Bobby" Rickabaugh has lived in the Fort Mill and York County community since 2006. He has covered the area while a reporter for The Charlotte Observer and a freelance writer for The Fort Mill...