Source: Lake Geneva Regional News

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Village Board approves creating TIF District

by Rob Ireland

October 06, 2011

WALWORTH — The Village Board approved a Tax Increment Financing District on Sept. 27, but don't expect the municipality to start spending money like a college kid with a new credit card.

Unlike the student swiping a plastic debt trap, the village plans to wait for a steady income before funding improvements in the village.

Village officials plan to spend money as development occurs. The tax increment funds will be used to provide economic incentives for potential developers, create utility improvements, build a road from Onvoy directly to Highway 14 and reroute the traffic around the village's square.

Tax Increment Financing is a financial tool used to fund projects within a designated area of a community. The funds are generated by tax dollars that are created through development or improvements within the district.

During a Sept. 27 special session meeting the board approved, on a 6-0 vote, the TIF District. The district includes the Windmill Meadows Condominiums, which is set for a Dec. 1 sheriff's sale; parts of the village's industrial park, including Onvoy; and the former Pick 'n Save location.

Village President David Rasmussen said the TID could immediately see $5 million increase in value by an incoming private commercial development. Rasmussen said as village president he is privy to information about the potential development, and can't discuss it publicly because it involves a private real estate transaction.

However, he said he anticipates an announcement coming soon.

Additional growth within in the district is expected to come from future development in the now defunct Windmill Prairie Subdivision and new industrial development within the industrial park. The project plan also predicts increased commercial development at the former Pick 'n Save location, which is a location that is viewed as underdeveloped.

Where will the money be spent?

The project plan for Walworth's TIF district totals $1.9 million in spending, which includes about $400,000 to reconstruct Highway 14.

The village plans to acquire the Antique Mall and an adjacent home to rerout Highway 14 along the west side of the square, which would stop semis from making 90-degree turns around the square.

The TIF project plan also includes $500,000 in development incentives for nonresidential development.

Trustee Todd Watters said the village doesn't have specific plans for this money. However, the village wants to have it available to help bring the right developer into the village.

The lion's share of the project plan, just about $1 million, will be spent on utility, road and sidewalk improvements. Rasmussen and Watters said the majority of this money is for improvements in the Windmill Prairie Subdivision.

The village has created a special assessment district for this subdivision, which could require a future developer of the land to make the road, sewer and storm water improvements.

Another proposed improvement, which officials are estimating will costs $75,000, would be building a road connecting Onvoy directly to Highway 14, which would eliminate semi-traffic along Beloit Street.

What about the village's downtown?

The businesses around the square are not included in the village's TIF district. Rasmussen said the project plan could be amended in the future to include the businesses around the square.

Rasmussen said it would have taken longer to develop a project plan that included the village's square. However, for the village to capitalize on any potential growth that may occur this year, the board needed to approve the plan before the end of September.

Although the Highway 14 project occurs outside of the boundaries of the district, it is eligible for the project plans because it is close in proximity to the district.