Monday’s City Council meeting, 7:30pm, has on its agenda the approval of the 2017 budget and tax levy, as well as the transfer of over $660,000 from the General Fund to Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District 1. This “loan” has neither interest nor guarantee of payment, but a “maybe” it will be paid back, “IF” there’s any money left in the TIF when the TIF ends in 12 or so years.
The money in a TIF is restricted to use within the boundaries of that TIF. In contrast, money from the General Fund can be used anywhere throughout the city for whatever purpose the City Council designates. If approved, the City Council will take money that could be used for things like sewer repair or riverbank stabilization, and restrict it to use in TIF 1, for things like purchase of the Larson-Becker property that will support Shodeen’s massive apartment complex, and incentives for Blue Goose to move into the old Walgreens.
TIFs are already privileged sites in that any property tax increment (increase) they generate from the inception of the district does not get divided among taxing bodies (school district, park district, etc.), but goes straight to the City for reinvestment within the TIF (more on TIFs here).