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Oklahoma County seeks downtown tax increment financing for projects

So-called TIF funds are pools of money built on incremental increases in property taxes in a specific district by a specific development or project. The county's courthouse annex and parking garage across the street both lie within TIF districts.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Published: January 3, 2013
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Oklahoma County officials hope to draw on a pool of accumulated property tax funds to complete more than $5 million in improvements to the courthouse annex building and the parking garage across the street.

Wednesday, county commissioners submitted a letter to the Oklahoma City city manager's office requesting tax increment financing funds be used to finance the projects.

According to the application, $4 million would be spent updating the heating, air and plumbing systems at the courthouse annex, upgrading elevators and developing a more efficient floor plan for county offices. Another $1.25 million would be spent making structural improvements to the parking garage at N Hudson and Robert S. Kerr.

About TIF funds

So-called TIF funds, in general, are pools of money built on incremental increases in property taxes in a specific district by a specific development or project, and can only be used to further enhance properties within that district.

Most of the TIF funds the county has applied for are based on property tax increases experienced in the area immediately adjacent to the Devon Energy Tower. The county courthouse annex — just north of the courthouse itself — was built in 1968 and sits within the Devon building's footprint.

Stacey Trumbo, the county engineer, said the building's antiquated infrastructure often leaves county employees and public users uncomfortable, and that its layout is not conducive to easy flow in some of the more heavily trafficked offices.

He said if the city approves the release of the TIF funding, the county will be ready to initiate the projects within 30 days.