By Dustin Ensinger
If construction of the remainder of Sawmill Parkway is to begin in 2015, the Delaware County commissioners and Delaware City Council will need to strike a deal on the project in the very near future.
In order to try to break ground next year, the Delaware County commissioners have scheduled a special meeting. The commissioners will meet at 2 p.m. today to try and iron out their remaining differences.
“If the goal is to actually move dirt anywhere close to 2015, we have to have it done soon,” said Delaware County Administrator Tim Hansley.
The two sides have reached an agreement on many of the details of the joint project.
Under the terms of a memorandum of understanding, the county would finance the entire cost of the project. But the city would be obligated to pay for 37.5 percent of the project from its municipal boundary to U.S. 42. The city would also be required to pay for 100 percent of the costs of the roadway extension from U.S. 42 to its eventual terminus 1,600 feet north of the intersection.
The city’s share of the project is estimated at $8.5 million.
However, the two sides have been trying to reach an agreement on repayment terms.
Revenue generated through a tax-increment financing (TIF) district near the city’s industrial park would be used to pay the county back.
But Delaware County Commissioner Ken O’Brien has expressed concerns that if the TIF district is not developed, the city will not have the money to repay its debt. He has asked for the agreement to contain stronger incentive and disincentive clauses.
O’Brien indicated Monday he wants other changes to the agreement.
“I hope to persuade some minor changes that I don’t think the city will think is so minor,” he said.
The cost of the final leg of the project is estimated to be about $50 million.
Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.