The Ardmore Public Works Authority will be reimbursed  $210,000 in tax increment financing funds that were spent in building infrastructure to the Colvert Technology Park after the plans for the park fizzled out.
Acceptance of the funds as a reimbursement was approved at the APWA’s regular meeting Monday evening. The reimbursement stems from a now-settled lawsuit between the Ardmore Development Authority and ATP Development, LLC.
“The city never said those funds were misspent,” Ardmore City Attorney Jen O’Steen said. “This is just the ADA and ATP settling their dispute. No party is admitting any wrongdoing in any of the agreements and the payment of these funds will permanently settle the matters at the APWA and the City of Ardmore.”
The lawsuit between the two parties involved a dispute over who rightfully owned the land in the park and a $483,734 building that ATP built on the property. Questions over the land stemmed from agreements not made in an open meeting by the ADA — a process issue that voided the contracts under the Oklahoma Open Meeting act.
Ultimately, the two parties agreed to a settlement and the lawsuit was dropped. The ADA took the west portion of the property and ATP retained ownership of the eastern half where their building resides. As a stipulation of their settlement, the ADA agreed to pay the APWA $135,000 for TIF #2 funds that were used to build infrastructure at the Technology Park, and ATP would pay $75,000.
“The City and the ADA have worked diligently for some time to resolve the issues at Colvert Technology Park,” ADA CEO Mita Bates said. “The accepted settlement terms offer a fair outcome and allow the ADA to move forward with a marketable piece of property. At this time, we do not have specific plans for the site but it will be available for future development.”
Ardmore has two TIF districts in the city, one at the Ardmore Industrial Airpark (TIF #1) and the other in Ardmore proper (TIF #2). Locations that benefit from TIF funds are very specific in that they are only created after city officials, and experts, declare an area “blighted” and unable to attract private investment without government intervention. In order to create a TIF district, the local government reallocates future property tax revenue increases into the fund, which is then used to spur economic development.
In agreeing to reimburse the city for the infrastructure at the park, it ensures that taxpayer dollars aren’t spent on the infrastructure for the portions of the properties that are now privately owned.
With the money put back into the city’s account, Ardmore may now use the funds for a future TIF approved project.
“The TIF benefits the whole community,” O’Steen said. “The Ardmore Commons would not have happened without those funds.”