ENID, Okla. — Tax Increment Finance districts
Enid City Commission recently approved two TIF districts to attract new investment to the city.
A TIF district creates incentive for new development by allowing a portion of the ad valorem tax revenue created by building new business to be returned to the developing company to defray start-up investment.
One TIF would create $4.6 million in incentives for Vector Properties to purchase and “de-mall” Oakwood Mall, a $35 million project. The other TIF would create $15 million in incentives and $12 million in public infrastructure improvements to bring a $200 million canola processing plant to Enid.
Question: Are these TIF incentives an appropriate means of attracting new investment to the city, or should private industry fund its own development?
Kaufman said he is opposed to both the Oakwood Mall and canola plant TIFs.
“I think the mall deal is downright stupid,” Kaufman said. “There’s going to be a lot of people who quit going to the mall if they break it up. People go to the mall for one reason — so they can go to one place and go to 20 different stores without having to drive somewhere else.”
Kaufman said the canola plant TIF is a better deal, but still not worth the cost of the city’s investment.
“It’s going to bring in $3.5 million in salaries, but it’s also going to bring in a lot of truck traffic to Enid, and that’s going to increase the wear and tear on our infrastructure. In the long run, I don’t think it’s going to be a good deal.”
Kaufman said he’s in favor of using TIFs, if they bring in enough new jobs to offset the city’s investment.
“It can be a good deal if we can get 1,500 jobs like we did with Advance(Pierre Foods),” he said. “If we only get 50 jobs, no. If it will generate 500 jobs, I say go ahead and help them. If it’s going to generate anything less than 500 jobs, I would vote against it.”