OKC Central Chat features Cathy O'Connor, President of the Alliance
The Oklahoman's OKC Central Chat, hosted by Steve Lackmeyer, featured Alliance President Cathy O'Connor this month. The question and answer session allowed guests to submit questions and comments about downtown Oklahoma City and receive input from both Lackmeyer and O'Connor. Below are highlighted excerpts from the chat.
OKC Central Chat, December 11, 2015:
Gary T.: Cathy, can you give us a little background on The Alliance and what its purpose is?
The alliance is an organization that was created to coordinate and manage all of the city's economic development and redevelopment programs. It includes management of the city's tax increment financing districts, the Oklahoma City Urban Renewal Authority and Redevelopment Authority, the Oklahoma City Economic Development Trust and the Strategic Investment Program, which is a local job creation incentive fund.
Love OKC: When TIF funds are diverted from OKC schools etc, does the state budget fully make up what is lost? If so does that mean all the taxpayers in state are in a way subsidizing downtown development?
I think the first premise about tax increment financing is that the development would not happen without the assistance provided by TIF. So without the TIF assistance, there is no growth in assessed value and there are no tax dollars available for school districts and the other taxing districts.
One thing that we recognized when we created the downtown district was there could be spin-off development that happens to properties that don't receive any increment. So when the TIF district was created we set it up so the other taxing jurisdictions receive 50 percent of the incremental increases in property taxes on those properties that did not have any assistance from TIF.
The interesting fact about what we call indirect increment dollars is that they are not subject to the state school funding formula and an increment dollar downtown is much more valuable to the school district than a non-increment dollar where they don't get the full value because of the state's school funding formula.
We are proposing that in the new Core to Shore TIF district we implement a similar increment sharing feature but the other taxing districts receive 75 percent of the indirect increment than the 50 percent they are receiving downtown.
Gary T.: What is your vision for The Alliance and what it can do to improve the quality of life in OKC?
I think as we move into the future The Alliance will become more involved in other areas of Oklahoma City that have experienced distressed economic conditions. To date we've mostly focused on northeast Oklahoma City because that has been the area where the Urban Renewal Authority has been most involved. I think as we move forward we will be more active along NW 10, south Oklahoma City, Capitol Hill and the Core to Shore area to name a few.
For a complete transcript of the OKC Central Chat, please visit