York County management has completed a thorough and transparent review of the amended Downtown and Textile Tax Incremental Financing Districts (TIF) in the City of Rock Hill. York County Council approved the initial reading of the third amendment to the TIF agreement for the following reason:
This TIF Agreement Protects County taxpayers and Ensures Transparency
- The TIF amendment specifically identifies the projects to be completed by the City. In the past, TIF agreements were open ended, allowing the City to complete projects that might have been different than what was presented to Council.
- The amended TIF allows the City to issue only non-refundable debt. Because the City has come to County Council repeatedly to extend the TIF, York County wants to ensure the TIF is not extended/refinanced again. Taxpayers deserve to reap the benefits of the TIF that currently will last over 50 years. The TIF will end in 2039.
- If any of the projects and/or amounts presented by the City to the County are going to change by more than 10%, the City must request and justify the changes to Council. Thus, ensuring transparency throughout the TIF projects.
- The County is requiring the City report the TIF as a separate Major Fund in their annual audited financial statements. As a result, the City’s external auditor must opine on the TIF Fund when performing the annual audit. Thus, increasing transparency and accountability.
- This agreement requires the City to maintain a positive fund balance in their TIF fund every year at June 30. Meaning, the City will have to stay in the black, maintaining a positive fund balance of at least 101% of the remaining debt payments for that year. This will prevent the City from accumulating a deficit balance.
- The TIF agreement allows the County to withhold funds or pursue other legal remedies to ensure compliance with this agreement.
“York County has taken the necessary steps to alleviate risks to York County taxpayers,” said Trish Startup, Public Information Officer. “York County is committed to providing accurate and transparent information in all our endeavors.” York County hired an external accounting firm to provide the County with an independently evaluated report of the TIF districts. The firms report and the draft third Amendment to the TIF Agreement can be viewed at www.yorkcountygov.com.
On Monday, February 24, York County Council passed the first reading of the amended TIF. Second reading of the TIF is scheduled to be on the County Council’s agenda for the Monday, March 2, County Council meeting. To ensure even further transparency, the public is encouraged to email any questions or concerns to [email protected].
What is a TIF?
Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) is an intergovernmental agreement between a City, County, and School district; where the County and School district agree to freeze the amount of taxes they collect from that district until the end of the TIF. The City uses the incremental taxes to finance specific projects. These projects are meant to increase the tax base in this area. At the end of the TIF, everybody reaps the benefits because the incremental revenue the City and County receive is now higher due to the completed TIF projects. TIF terms are normally 10 to 20 years. Once more, if residents have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email [email protected], and York County will respond with a timely and accurate response.