By RORYE O’CONNOR
MT. VERNON — —
The Mt. Vernon TIF Advisory Board on Monday made the recommendation to allocate Tax Increment Finance funds to four entities.
City Manager Ron Neibert said there was $15,000 remaining unallocated of 2012 TIF funds, and the city received slightly less this year than last year because a couple of properties’ equalized assessed values were lower, and there was a sub-1 multiplier. He said $1.4 million in TIF funds was estimated to be available in the next 10 years.
A representative from Community First Bank, 117 N. 10th St., said the project for which the bank hoped to use TIF funds was the paving of a private alley for $29,000, and for which the business was requesting $14,000.
John Lewis of People’s Choice Cash and Pawn, 1119 Jordan, requested TIF funds for the renovation of a building at 310 S. 10th St., currently rented by American Cab, which he said has some roof leaks, as well as the replacement of asphalt in the parking lot at the building.
Barb D’Arcy, president of the Granada Center for the Performing Arts board, said the non-profit organization was requesting $90,000 for the full project cost of a partial roof replacement on the building, located at 108 N. 9th St.
She said one section of the roof has already been replaced, and the part next to be replaced is directly over the theater area.
Tammy Henry, of Kingdom Seed Ministries, at 118 S. 9th St., requested $375,000 in TIF assistance for a large-scope ministry with a WIFI equipped coffee shop, classrooms and office.
Henry said her ministry plans to offer leadership skills and job interview skills courses to the community, as well as a community meeting place.
“We see a real opportunity to increase support for the community,” she said. “We are a ministry, but we see it as a partnership for the community; our goal is not to build a church, but to reach the community in a positive way.”
Mike Green, Zadok Casey Middle School superintendent, requested $1 million in TIF funds for the $4 million Casey renovation project at 1829 Broadway. He said the District 80 school board today will vote on a motion to accept the bids for the project, on which it will spent $2.5 million of its own funds, and secure $3.5 million in bonds to be paid back over 15 years.
Erin Beal and Brent McGowen requested $1.1 million for a proposed upscale restaurant at 224 N. 10th St., where renovations are already taking place. Beal said the restaurant will be intimate and will provide a meeting place for clubs and groups.
McGowen said extensive renovations have already taken place, including replacement of the sprinkler system, heating, ventilation and air conditioning and a plumbing system.
Finally, Kip and Katrina Bauer requested $108,000 for a $205,000 project at 120 S. 9th St. The project will include an art studio and upstairs living space, as well as the possibility of a small gift shop or art supply store.
Laura Thacker, president of the Downtown Mt. Vernon Development Committee, spoke to TIF Advisory Committee members Brenda Breese, Susan Hughey and Paul Lynch about the DMDC’s priorities.
She said locally-owned restaurants and breweries are at the top of the DMDC’s wanted list, as well as businesses in the 120 S. 9th St., 117 N. 9th, and 222 S. 9th St. locations.
The committee debated the merits of each project, with the realization that they had up to $1.4 million to give out to businesses requesting $2.9 million.
Several requests were changed or withdrawn — Green changed Casey Middle School’s request to $100,000 over five years, and Henry withdrew Kingdom Seed Ministries’ request altogether.
The following TIF fund allotments were suggested by the TIF Advisory Board:
Neibert said he would draft the TIF agreements for the four entities and once signed, bring them before the city council for approval.
He said the city’s TIF program was put in place several years ago.
“What happens is that when a TIF district is formed, the assessed valuation of the properties for taxing purposes, meaning what goes to the individual taxing bodies, is frozen,” he said. “Any increase in the assessed valuation, which results in, of course, higher taxes being paid, either through a reassessment by the assessor’s office or through an improvement in your property, will cause that EAV to go up, and obviously the taxes will go up.”
Neibert said when the taxes go up, any new taxes created by an increase in the EAV goes into a TIF fund, which authorizes the city to use the funds for TIF-eligible projects within the taxing district.
TIF-eligible projects include infrastructure, renovation, existing structures and certain eligible parts of a new construction project, he said.