Downtown is back on tax rolls

April 22, 2014

Menomonee Falls — After almost 25 years, the TIF district containing Village Centre has officially closed. In a way that means it has reopened for taxpayers, as the property tax revenue will now rejoin the tax base of the village.

The Village Board on April 21 voted to close the district, which was created in 1991 to promote improvements and projects in the 150-acre historic downtown area near Main Street and Appleton Avenue.

The district now has an equalized value of $48 million, which is more than double the base property value of about $22.41 million it started with in 1991. As a result of the projects that have taken place, Village Manager Mark Fitzgerald said blighted properties have been redeveloped, infrastructure investments were completed, and the number of residents and business in the downtown area have all increased.

"In today's society, downtowns are sort of fragile and they suffer from some level of disinvestment because they tend to be the mom and pop core of the community, so protecting this is a reasonable policy," Fitzgerald said.

Village President Randy Newman highlighted work in the Mill Pond area as some of the most noticeable upgrades that have occurred.

TIF is a mechanism that allows municipalities to borrow money to fund infrastructure improvements for an area that would otherwise be difficult to develop or redevelop. The increased property tax revenue from the improved land is then diverted from the tax roll to pay off the loan.

The district is closing four years earlier than anticipated, as the tax increments collected through 2014 will be more than sufficient to pay off the remaining debt service of the districts.

A $182,000 surplus will also be distributed among the affected taxing bodies, including the village, Menomonee Falls School District, Waukesha County Technical College and Waukesha County.

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