In 2013, the Aiken County School District agreed to participate in a Tax Incremental Financing District, or TIF. A common misconception is that the school district is sending money to support the new baseball stadium in North Augusta-that’s simply not true.
Five years ago, a parcel of land in North Augusta was generating very little property tax funding for our schools and community. Through a series of inter-governmental agreements, including one with the School District, the City of North Augusta was able to develop the property now known as Riverside Village. What was once a blighted, TIF-eligible property is now producing sales taxes for the community (and schools) and will, at the end of our District’s participation in the TIF, be fully-taxable, generating revenue worth many, many times its former value.
Our School District agreed to participate in the TIF for 15 years. The District receives all property tax revenue generated by debt service millage on the newly-developed property. The additional property tax, or increment, generated through school operating millage as a result of the property’s improvements will help The City of North Augusta pay off the debt issued to develop the area.
For Aiken County Public Schools, it made financial sense to participate. If the land remained blighted and went undeveloped, it would have continued to generate very little in tax revenue for schools. The School District’s participation in the TIF allowed the property to be developed, which provides immediate and future benefits to school funding such as:
- Increased sales tax revenue-an immediate financial benefit from Riverside Village (In 2014, voters approved a 1% sales tax on most purchases to finance five voter-approved school facility projects and provide property tax relief for taxpayers; this major development will increase that revenue.);
- Increased debt service millage immediately (The School Board agreed to only forgo incremental tax revenue from operations millage for 15 years; debt service millage was excluded from the agreement and is estimated to generate $200K/year in property tax.) (Note: The total property tax (debt service millage and operations millage) received by Aiken County Public Schools amounted to only approximately $5,000/year before the land was developed);
- Much more to gain in property tax revenue with the land’s new value in the future. After 15 years, the District’s participation in the TIF ends, and the property becomes fully taxable. The property is projected to generate $800K per year beginning in 2028.
Aiken County Public School District is proud to have been part of the TIF to support construction of this underdeveloped area of the county and we certainly look forward to the many economic and community benefits that Riverside Village will provide to the county as a whole, and, most certainly, our schools.
Printable PDF: TIF Talk information