Flushing City Council votes to dissolve East Pierson Road CIA

FLUSHING — Flushing City Council approved a resolution to dissolve the East Pierson Road Improvement Authority (CIA) at the Jan. 11 council meeting.

The East Pierson Road CIA, which was formed in 2015, was a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) plan that captured taxes for economic development purposes. As designed, the CIA included parcels along East Pierson Road from Elms Road to Main Street/ Flushing Road within the City of Flushing and was comprised of five appointed board members, plus the Mayor of Flushing.

According to the City of Flushing’s website, the East Pierson Road TIF plan captured the growth in tax revenue from increased property values. Rather than going to local tax jurisdictions, funds gathered by the TIF were intended to be invested into a development area by the East Pierson Road CIA to help prevent blight and attract new businesses along the corridor.

Prior to its termination, the CIA had a fund balance of $22,000 and an annual revenue of $16,000 a year.

Despite the CIA’s range in a busy district of commerce, Interim City Manager Clarence Goodlein said that several businesses along the East Pierson Road corridor were exempted from the TIF plan, making it more difficult for the CIA to raise large revenues for projects.

“The authority doesn’t seem able to make any meaningful improvements in the area because of the fact that it’s collected limited revenue on an annual basis,” Goodlein said. “When we collect such a small amount of money ($16,000 a year) it’s difficult to have a definite plan. You can hardly lay sidewalk with the money that’s been collected.”

During public comment, East Pierson Road CIA member Dave Manges said that his board should have been included the discussion on whether to dissolve the CIA.

“After years of not having a fund balance, I feel like we finally have the chance to improve the corridor,” he said. “Volunteers who have participated in the Corridor Authority over the past five years deserve to be consulted about the possibility of dissolving this.”

Mayor Pro Tem Ed Sullivan said that the council should probably revisit the idea of having a CIA along East Pierson Road but added that the previous TIF plan wasn’t producing enough tax value to justify its existence.

“Mr. Manges has a valid point, but I really don’t see the benefit of having this tax increment financing in place,” Sullivan said. “For a simple fact that a couple of big players are exempted from this program. It just won’t generate enough money to do something of substance.”

Flushing Mayor Joseph Karlichek, who served on the East Pierson Road CIA as a city council representative, said that the city could look at possibly creating a more effective TIF plan for the area.

“A consistent concern on Pierson Road is the reality of blight encroachment,” he said. “Perhaps in the future, we could look at reevaluating that corridor for a tax increment plan.”

With the East Pierson Road CIA now terminated, local tax jurisdictions will once again capture 100 percent of the area’s tax revenue, following a period of investment and property value growth.