Village Board members took initial steps last week toward closing
the village’s Tax Incremental Finance district, which is the
second-oldest in Wisconsin.
formed the district in 1985 to spur development in its downtown. It
was supposed to expire in 2013, but was declared “distressed” in
2010, allowing an extension in its sunset date.
The village took
advantage of a new state law at the time, which allowed it to keep
the TIF open so it could continue to repay its general fund for
payments that had been made when the TIF was not performing as well
however, the case later in its life. Development started to blossom
and the TIF became productive. Thiensville paid off its TIF debt
from its general fund and, once the district started generating
money, that money has been repaid to the general fund with interest.
The village has
earmarked those payments for capital projects, including road work
and the Pigeon Creek flood control project. With the TIF closing,
village officials no longer will be able to rely on the flow of TIF
income. In recent years, those payments have accounted for
approximately half of the $1 million-or-so annual capital projects
That means the
village likely will have to wait longer and save additional funds
prior to undertaking future projects. Thiensville is one of just a
handful of municipalities in Wisconsin that does not borrow for
big-ticket projects, such as road improvements.
met Feb. 5 as the Committee of the Whole, they gave preliminary
approval to hiring the public finance firm Ehlers to handle the
details of closing the TIF. Ehlers will charge $2,000 to handle a
variety of closure details and produce a projected impact report on
the TIF’s closure on the future tax levy.
expected to take final action when they meet again Monday as the
Administrator Dianne Robertson said the TIF district is expected to
close in April. By the time the village settles with other taxing
districts – the county, the school district and Milwaukee Area
Technical College – the final closure will occur by Sept. 1.
are used across Wisconsin and in many other states to spark economic
development. A municipality spends money to promote development in
an area where it would not otherwise occur Any resulting development
will increase the tax base. Other taxing jurisdictions agree to
forego the increase in property tax revenues so that the
municipality can use it exclusively to repay the cost of public