Monday, July 10, 2017

What you may not know: Week of July 10

It's been a quiet few weeks for the Appleton Common Council:

  • Our regular council meeting on the first Wednesday of the month was cancelled for July in observance of the Fourth of July holiday.
  • With that meeting cancelled, most of the committee meetings from the prior week that would typically have referred items to our council meeting were also cancelled and had their items postponed to this week.
So, with all of that said, many of our committees have busy agendas this week. Here are some of the highlights:

Joint Review Board, Monday, 10:30 am
City Plan Commission, Tuesday, 4 pm

Two meetings will be held this week to discuss and make recommendations on a staff request to create two new Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts, generally located on the east and west ends of downtown. Madeleine Behr of the Post Crescent outlined the proposals on Friday. 

TIF financing is generally used to spur development or to make necessary infrastructure improvements to allow or enhance development in areas where development or redevelopment could otherwise not occur. Once a district's boundaries are identified and a TIF district is approved, here's a basic outline of how the financing process works:
  • The amount of property tax revenue going to the four taxing entities (the city, county, school district and FVTC) from properties within the district is frozen for the duration of the TIF financing period.
  • Money is borrowed to finance the TIF's expenditures, which may include infrastructure improvements, developer incentives, etc, with the goal of increasing property values within the district.
  • As the property values within the district increase, so does the amount of property tax revenue collected. Any revenue over the "frozen" amount listed above is the increment, and is used to pay down the borrowing.
  • Eventually the debts are repaid and the TIF district is closed. At that time, the taxing entities are again allowed to collect the full value of the property taxes.
As such, it's worth noting and reminding you that TIF financing, including developer incentives, does not use general fund property tax dollars and will not impact your property taxes in any way. When the city (or any taxing entity) uses TIF financing, the money borrowed is financed against future tax revenue increases for the specific area, and tax rates are unchanged.

Municipal Services Committee, Monday, 4:30 pm

On Monday the Municipal Services Committee will also be asked to make a recommendation on the next step related to the city's railroad trestle acquisition and efforts to make the city a railroad quiet zone.

Both the city's trestle acquisition agreement and quiet zone process rely on our willingness to close a street railroad crossing near the corner of Locust Street and Lawrence Street near downtown. This week the committee will be asked to approve the discontinuance of Locust Street at that crossing as part of that process. If approved the street closure would not happen immediately but is likely to occur before the end of the year.

You can see all of this week's meeting agendas and the full schedule at the city's Legistar page.

Keeping you informed on issues that may impact you around the city is one of my primary goals as an alderman. Good governance happens in the open, and I remain committed to raising awareness on the issues coming before us.