NORMAN — Norman City Council member Greg Jungman took aim Tuesday night at the University North Park Tax Increment Finance District.
Jungman said he is not convinced that the TIF is a successful venture and voted against a measure that would allow the use of TIF funds to help secure a loan by the Norman Economic Development Coalition to build infrastructure in the corporate center and industrial park on the north end of the development.
NEDC has been working to bring jobs to Norman through developing the corporate center and industrial park on 60 acres of land. One potential client who is bringing quality jobs is expected to sign by the end of the year.
The retail portion of the TIF brought in $2.1 million in new sales tax dollars to Norman’s city general fund last year over and above the sales tax diverted to pay for the infrastructure in the development.
Jungman criticized the money set aside through the TIF for “dancing fountains” and other aesthetic amenities of the developing Legacy Park and the surrounding upscale shopping district along 24th Avenue Northwest.
“I have to stop supporting this scheme,” Jungman said. “Since we’ve adopted the TIF, there’s been no indication of sales tax growth. We’re not adding to the financial situation of the city; we’re actually taking away from it.”
Jungman said the city is paying for park amenities from a special pot while cutting funds to social services.
“It’s time to stop,” he said.
The measure was approved in an 8 to 1 vote.
The city council approved the University North Park TIF District on May 23, 2006, according to city staff notes.
The plan authorized public improvements within the TIF, including infrastructure improvements such as roads and intersection improvements and amenities to serve a hotel conference center, retail development, Legacy Park and a corporate center with an industrial park to foster and support employment opportunities for Norman.