50-home subdivision off White Rock Avenue near Frame
Park was one of the largest projects completed in TIF 9
during the 15 years it was open. The district, along
with TIF 16, closed this year.
Hannah Weikel/Freeman Staff
WAUKESHA — Two of Waukesha’s Tax Increment Financing
districts — created to incentivize and promote
development in those areas — closed this year and will
start to have a positive impact on tax bills next year,
city finance officials say.
that both districts have closed, taxes gathered in those
areas will no longer go toward the cost of redeveloping
the district, but will instead help ease the burden on
taxpayers and offset expenses generated by the city,
area schools, the county, technical colleges and the
state, beginning next year. While TIF 9 came out more
than $12 million ahead in property value, TIF 16 to the
southwest opened just as the recession hit; developers
backed out and property values dropped.
There are now 12 active TIFs in Waukesha, according to
city Finance Director Rich Abbott.
Waukesha uses TIF to incentivize development that would
likely not happen without it. Each project is analyzed
before the district is created to verify there is a true
gap in financing that makes a
necessary, said Community Development Director Jennifer
9 was created in 1993 when the former General Castings
Foundry on Main Street site shut down and the city
acquired the land for $730,754. The ground was
contaminated with metals and chemicals, so the city
cleaned it up and granted the property to a developer
who built a 50home single-family subdivision off White
Rock Avenue on Phoenix Drive and Lombardi Way. When TIF
9 was created almost 15 years ago, all the property in
the district was worth about $2 million. Now, the
property is worth $14.8 million. While the district was
open, the city spent $4.5 million in that area on
riverwalk improvements, land acquisition, projects,
loans and capital expenditures.
TIF 9 closed, the area’s tax rate — $21.38 per $1,000 —
will go toward the city’s budget instead of loans and
expenditures from redevelopment.
“When we create a district like that, we estimate the
costs. We try to be comprehensive in our budget but
those numbers fluctuate,” Andrews said.
the last couple of years, city officials approved
$275,044 from TIF 9 to be loaned to TIF 16 so the two
districts could close at the same time, Andrews said.
16 was created in 2007 when the area seemed ripe for
development, Andrews said.
had some project proposals and we thought some would
happen, but the recession hit and financing for those
projects dried up,” she said. “The impact from 16 was
negligible because those projects didn’t happen.”
Proposed projects included townhouses on South Street,
commercial redevelopment on South Street and Barstow,
redevelopment of the train depot and Family Dollar.
Instead, the city loaned money to homeowners for
improvements of older homes in the district.
are always trying to maintain our older housing stock.
That was the best thing that came out of the district,”
Andrews said, adding that all homeowners except two have
fully paid back the loans.
said it’s possible to reopen the district if a developer
comes forward with a project in the future, but “we
wanted to take this opportunity [to close the district]
and hit the reset button and possibly come back with a
districts are complex to explain and are often
criticized by those who view them as the city giving
taxpayer money to fund for-profit developments.
project is looked at carefully by community developers
to make sure there will be as much of a return on
investment for the city as the developer claims, Andrews
think sometimes people only look at one side of it, the
side where the city is helping a developer with a
project,” she said. “The other side has many benefits
for the community that sometimes get overlooked.”
TIF district workshop on
Interested in learning more about TIF districts?
Extension-Waukesha County is offering an information
workshop for Plan Commission members and the public on
There will be a
presentation and panel discussion to inform people how
TIF is used in Waukesha and neighboring communities. The
workshop will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Waukesha
City Hall's council chambers, 201 Delafield St.
required to participate in the event. The cost is $30
per person and registration closes at 4 p.m. today.
Space is limited.
Contact Ann Wied
at 262-548-7788 or
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Register online at