Germantown board approves TIF

June 16, 2014

Germantown — A desire to keep attracting new businesses as well as offer expansion opportunities to existing businesses has ultimately tipped the scale in favor of a new tax-incremental financing district in Germantown.

"We need this," said Village President Dean Wolter. "It has taken us a lot of time and effort to get to the point where we have businesses literally knocking on our door ... we need a place for them to go."

Now they will have that place.

The Joint Review Board voted 3-1 on Thursday, June 12 to approve the creation of TIF No. 6, located in a 192-acre triangle encompassed by Appleton Avenue and Maple and Lannon roads. It was the second time the vote was taken by the JRB, which is made up representatives from the four affected taxing bodies and one citizen representative. The school district abstained from voting, even though they initially voted in favor of the plan in April. In May, they reconsidered their support after being encouraged to do so by JRB citizen representative Dan Wing.

Wing, who was the one vote against the approval, has said the plan is too big of a financial risk to the village, specifically calling into question the water main looping project that is considered a "non-project cost" within the TIF plan.

The TIF plan, which has been revised seven times, makes reference to about $1.45 million in non-project costs, which are identified within the document as "public works projects that to the extent they do not benefit the district are not eligible to be paid with TIF funds."

The full cost of the water main looping project is estimated at about $1.7 million, but under state statute only $400,000 is eligible to be paid for with TIF funds. That leaves the remaining $1.45 million not covered by the TIF, a gap which those who have spoken against the TIF cited as a reason not to move forward with the plan.

But Wolter said the important thing to remember with that is the water main project has been approved regardless of whether it is included with the TIF plan, which Jim Maan a representative of the consulting firm Ehler's, said needs the project to sustain the potential businesses to be housed by the TIF.

"It's very exciting to see this thing come through," said Village Adminstrator Dave Schornack.

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