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Council Releases Independent Analysis of the Proposed TIF for Downtown Columbia

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The Howard County Council recently released an independent report from TischlerBise that reviewed the administration’s proposed Tax Increment Financing (TIF) package for Downtown Columbia. Council Chairperson Calvin Ball called for an independent analysis of the proposed TIF in July, noting that the council wanted a neutral third party to provide a critical review of the proposal. President Carson Bise will brief the council (as of press time) on Oct. 5, at 8 p.m., following the Legislative Session.

“We must maintain the county’s fiscal well-being by exercising fiduciary responsibility,” said Ball. “I look forward to reviewing this independent analysis of the TIF and anticipate a very enlightening discussion with Mr. Bise at next week’s briefing.”

As an independent consultant to the county auditor, TischlerBise was tasked with evaluating the proposal and supporting documentation of CR105-2016, which establishes a Development District for the TIF and a Special Taxing District, as well as CB56-2016, which authorizes the county to issue $90 million in TIF bonds to finance a parking garage, roads and intersection improvements.

The County Department of Finance has presented the council with a financial analysis of the proposed TIF prepared by MuniCap Inc., a public finance consulting firm that specializes in tax increment financing. As part of its review, TischlerBise took a closer look at the assumptions about revenue and cost factors used in the administration’s evaluation of the TIF.

TischlerBise has prepared more than 900 impact fees and more than 800 fiscal impact analyses for clients across the United States and Canada. Among these have been analyses of TIF projects around the country, including most recently in Maryland: Baltimore City’s proposed TIF for Port Covington.

Bise has 25 years of fiscal, economic and planning experience, including proposed TIFs, and has conducted fiscal and infrastructure finance evaluations in 36 states. The TischlerBise report can be viewed at http://cc.howardcountymd.gov/Portals/0/Documents/CouncilMain/Press%20Releases/HowardCo_Final%20Draft.pdf.