The City of Lawton has been asked by Republic Paperboard, Inc. to create a Tax Increment Financing district in Lawton’s west industrial park.

Council members approved a resolution earlier this month that, among other things, signaled their intent to approve a project plan and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts under the State of Oklahoma’s Local Development Act. That creation must follow a specific set of steps, starting with a review committee to analyze the information and make a recommendation on the TIF, first to the City Planning Commission, then to the City Council.

Republic Paperboard is planning a $94 million expansion/modernization project. That company has asked about creation of a TIF, a process used by municipalities to promote private development.

According to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, TIF districts allow municipalities to use a portion of the new ad valorem taxes — those generated by new development — to fund infrastructure and other economic development projects. The theory is that those expenditures help development, which, in turn, increases property values and ad valorem taxes.

Creation of the TIF district could pay for critical infrastructure needed in both the west industrial park and the airport industrial park located adjacent to Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport.

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