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Germantown panel OKs TIF funding

The Village of Germantown is considering creation of a TID district for property bound by Maple Road to the east, Appleton Avenue to the south and Lannon Road to the west.

The Village of Germantown is considering creation of a TID district for property bound by Maple Road to the east, Appleton Avenue to the south and Lannon Road to the west. Photo By C.T. Kruger

April 22, 2014

Germantown — A manufacturing facility could be next on the landscape across from Wal-Mart on Appleton Avenue in Germantown. The name of the company has not been released, but it is currently slated to be the anchor in proposed tax-incremental financing district No. 6.

The Germantown Plan Commission on April 14 approved the creation of the new TIF, located in a 192-acre triangle encompassed by Appleton Avenue and Maple and Lannon roads.

The commission, as well as the joint review board, reviewed the proposed plan, which proposes $10 million in infrastructure improvements that Wagner said could result in $38 million of private development. A challenge the plan faces if all the development were to occur at once would be underfunding of the initial investment by about $1.3 million.

TIF is a mechanism that allows municipalities to borrow money to fund infrastructure improvements for an area that otherwise would 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 plan contemplates that only about 87% of investment will be paid off by the development, so what that presumes is that some other source of revenue will be found," Wagner said, citing special assessments to property owners and slower phasing of development as potential ways to mitigate that challenge.

This was a concern for commissioner Tom Stauffacher, who voted against the plan.

"I just look at the financials and it's so tight," he said. "If it doesn't go well or as anticipated you've got leeway of one year before the taxpayers will have to pay. I'm fiscally too conservative to go out on a limb."

But commission chair and Village Board President Dean Wolter said it's a worthwhile chance to take given the recent success of TIF No. 4, which includes the Germantown Industrial Park.

"My fear is for a big user to come and say we would like to build in Germantown and we'd have to say I have no place for you," Wolter said. "This is a build it as they come and support it as the development occurs and designates the area we want it to occur."

The location is a favorable one, according to Village Administrator David Schornack, who said the potential benefits definitely outweigh the risk to the village.

"It is financially tight, but the plan we have, which is the worst case scenario, is self-funding. It's close, but it is self-funding," he said, emphasizing that infrastructure improvements will be done in phases. "The truth is we need some place for the business to go."

NEXT STEP

WHAT: Germantown Village Board meeting

WHEN: 7 p.m. Monday, May 19

WHERE: Village Hall, W17001 Mequon Road

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