JERSEY TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WCMH) — A Licking County township is preparing for potential growth when it comes to Intel and has passed legislation when it comes to future development.
Some are worried about how that will impact the three school districts that are part of Jersey Township.
Superintendents of Johnstown-Monroe and Licking Heights school districts both said they worry about how the districts will manage growth with Jersey Township’s approval of “tax increment financing” districts.
Intel’s arrival means growth for the nearby township, which is why township trustees passed three tax increment financing — or TIF — districts.
“The goal is to have new development generate revenues,” explained Township Administrator Rob Platte.
The TIF districts are aimed at turning a portion of property taxes into an infrastructure fund. Once the land is developed, 75 percent of the taxes will go into that fund as part of the 10-year plan.
“The township is going to continue to face annexation pressures, which is something the township residents have been opposed to for a number of years now,” Platte said. It’s one of the reasons Jersey trustees chose to pass it.
Licking Heights Local School District Superintendent Dr. Kevin Miller and Johnstown-Monroe Local School District Superintendent Dr. Philip Wagner said they would have liked to see the township complete a comprehensive plan before the township passed the TIF. That plan is currently in the works.
Both worry about potential multi-family housing unit development and what that means for their already growing enrollment, especially with both districts close to capacity.
“If we have a large influx of students because of increases in population, we have to have a way to fund the building needs and multifamily housing can increase that very quickly,” Wagner said.
Miller added, “Anytime we have an agreement or there’s an economic development tool in place that does not provide for revenue for school districts, we don’t have the money to provide the services for the new students that we have, so that’s a concern of ours.”
Platte said any new development proposed in the TIF districts would have to go through the zoning process, which requires township approval.
“The township has been very clear the trustees do not have any intention of flooding the school districts with new students,” Platte said.
Both superintendents say it’s important that they continue to be invited to the table to talk about future long-term planning and will be part of the comprehensive plan for the township.