New Richmond designates TIF district as severely distressedAfter lobbying the state legislature to pass a bill to help communities with tax increment financing struggles, New Richmond has designated one of its districts as “severely distressed.”
By: By Jeff Holmquist, New Richmond News
After lobbying the state legislature to pass a bill to help communities with tax increment financing struggles, New Richmond has designated one of its districts as “severely distressed.”
The city’s TIF district along Highway 64 has not done as well as city officials had hoped since it was established. Not only have few businesses constructed buildings along the transportation corridor, the value of the land in that district has dropped dramatically over the past few years.
As a result, the city is facing a $4.4 million deficit in the district in the coming years, according to Sean Lentz, the city’s financial advisor with Ehlers and Associates.
To correct that problem, the council voted unanimously at its regular meeting Monday to designate TIF #8 as severely distressed and to identify TIF #5 (the city’s Business and Technical Park) as a donor district to help pay the financial obligations of the failing district. TIF #5 has done so well financially that it also helps pay for obligations within TIF #6 (along Richmond Way).
Even though TIF #5 will continue to help out the two struggling district, Alderman Jim Zajkowski said that doesn’t mean things can’t turn around in TIF #8 or TIF #6 if the economy starts to pick up again.
“This is the worst case scenario,” said Zajkowski. “If we get more growth out there, it’s going to help everything.”
In other council business:
• The council approved $44,590 for expected expenses when the police department moves into its own building next spring. The city is expected to close on the purchase of the old S&C Banco building in the Business & Technical Park this week. When the police department moves there, the space now used by the department will be converted into office space for New Richmond Utilities, City Engineer Dan Koski and the mapping office. Because the expenses were not included in the 2012 budget, City Clerk Joe Bjelland said the funds would come from the city’s reserves or through reductions in currently budgeted items in the police department.
• The trailer for the movie “Forever” was shown to the council. High School teacher Debbie Swanson said the project would not have been possible without the terrific support of the community.
• The council tabled action on a rezoning request from SCI Associates LLC for property at Ponderosa Lane and Richmond Way. The developers were looking to build a 47-unit apartment building on that site, but now are considering the suggestion that they construct their project on the site of the current city-owned WeTEC building downtown. The council has suspended any decision on the future of the WeTEC building until the issue with SCI can be fully explored.
• The council tabled a proposal to ban guns on city-owned property and at city-sponsored special events. Council members decided more discussion and research needed to be completed before a final ordinance is adopted.