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Mequon using TIFs for more redevelopment

Council approves two TIFs to spur corridor

Feb. 22, 2012

Mequon - Hoping to spur redevelopment in its commercial corridor along North Port Washington Road, the Common Council on Tuesday approved two rehabilitation and conservation tax-incremental finance districts.

TIF allows municipalities to create districts for redevelopment. Taxing bodies within the district agree to forgo taxes that are greater than those in place at the time of the district's creation, allowing that money to be used toward the cost of development instead. Those taxes are called the tax increment and, in the case of the pay-as-you-go districts, will be used as incentives for developers and for any public project costs.

TIF 4 has irregular boundaries along Port Washington Road, beginning just south of Mequon Road and ending at Baldwin Court. Most of the property on the east side of the street is in the district but a number of newer properties on the west side of the street are not.

On the east side, The Pavilion, Steins and the Feed Bag are among the properties. On the west side, the Ace Hardware store is included.

TIF 5 starts at roughly Greenbrier Drive on the north and extends south to a point between Zedler and Fiesta Lanes where Port Washington Road crosses Interstate 43.

Both are pay-as-you-go districts that offer incentives to developers who bring sites to "green field" conditions to spur redevelopment in them. Rather than the city borrowing money to fund improvements and then paying itself back over time with the increment, the developer pays for improvements and receives the increment after the property reaches its expected value.

"Pay as you go removes any risk for local government," Dawn Gunderson of Ehlers, the city's financial consultant, said.

The city has estimated $5 million in projects it would be interested in conducting in the district, but will not borrow any money for them. Any public projects undertaken in the districts will be paid for by the additional taxes, or tax increment, generated in the districts by redevelopment.

The city estimates that TIF 4 and 5 will each grow in value by $24 million by the time the districts are closed. TIF 4 has an estimated base value of $44.7 million and TIF 5, nearly $12.4 million, both as of Jan. 1.

The council approved TIF 4 as presented but modified the boundaries of TIF 5 slightly, adding The Quiet House and Centennial Restaurant and removing Les Moise.

The plans now go to the Joint Review Board for final approval March 7.

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