Willmar considers TIF district on First Street
WILLMAR -- Willmar Planning and Development Services will pursue the creation of a redevelopment tax increment financing district for property located on the east and west side of the 600 block of First Street, just south of Minnesota Avenue and ...
WILLMAR - Willmar Planning and Development Services will pursue the creation of a redevelopment tax increment financing district for property located on the east and west side of the 600 block of First Street, just south of Minnesota Avenue and across the street from the Willmar Fire Station.
"They've historically been underutilized," Bruce Peterson, Willmar Planning and Development director said of the properties in question.
The Willmar City Council gave its support during the June 19 meeting to go ahead with the forming of the tax increment financing district. A public hearing process is still to come.
Peterson presented the project during the work session. It was then moved to the regular meeting for a vote by the council. The vote passed 6-0, with Councilor Ron Christianson abstaining. Councilor Andrew Plowman was absent.
Tax increment financing enables a city to use the additional property taxes generated by a new development to pay for certain development expenses. A city "captures" the additional property taxes generated by the development that would have gone to other taxing jurisdictions and uses the "tax increments" to finance the development costs.
There is a developer seeking to construct a new retail/professional business/food project on the east property. He has already spent quite a lot of money on acquiring the property and taking down structures that Peterson said were substandard and a visual and functional detriment to that area.
"He is very interested in doing something significant on First Street," Peterson said.
The tax increment financing district would also include property on the west side. The financing could help in redeveloping that side as well, which currently houses two businesses.
If the initial project is completed, it could mean a $2 million to $3 million investment on that land, increasing the tax base, said Aaron Backman, Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission executive director.
The proposed district would be for no more than 15 years, Peterson said. The city, county and school district would continue to collect the base level of taxes on the property. However, any increased taxes would go back to the property for 15 years, to offset the cost of demolition and site preparation.
Peterson believes this type of development is the perfect example of why tax increment financing districts are an important tool for economic growth. Peterson said it would be extremely difficult for any developer to create a successful and profitable development on that site without the help of the TIF district.