Superior council seeks to repay debt from struggling developmentWhen the Superior City Council created a tax-increment finance district to redevelop the area around the former Central High School, things were looking up.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
When the Superior City Council created a tax-increment finance district to redevelop the area around the former Central High School, things were looking up.
Plans were in the works for an office and retail complex on the site of the former school in the 1000 block of Belknap Street after the renovation of the neighboring Blaine School. Buying up aging homes was going to create new opportunities to fill the area with new housing and commercial space.
Four months after the council created the special tax district, a national financial crisis stalled the office and retail complex planned for the site.
And now, taxpayers are footing the bill to pay back debt to the tune of about $155,000 a year.
However, state legislation adopted a few years ago could help the ailing tax district.
And the Superior Plan Commission this week set a public hearing to consider an option that would take the burden off taxpayers by using proceeds from one of the city’s successful tax-increment districts to repay debt for the Blaine-Central tax district.
“What else are we going to do?” said Commissioner Mick MacKenzie, the only city councilor to vote against creating the district in 2008.
After all, taxpayers are footing the bill for a development plan that has yet to become a reality.
Under the proposal, the city would use revenue generated from property taxes paid in the Interstate Business Park in North End to repay debt incurred at the Blaine-Central site.
“There are some ramifications that go along with this,” said Port and Planning Director Jason Serck.
It’s going to mean extending the life of the Interstate Business Park tax district — something that still has to be approved by a joint review board made up of taxing authorities affected by the extension.
“Not that we had any in the first place, but it limits us on providing any incentives” for development, Serck said. “It also constrains the boundary … which I don’t foresee us extending anyway.”
The Interstate Business Park tax district could be closed next year if the city doesn’t do this, said Finance Director Jean Vito. However, she said, the district generates enough revenue that it would pay back the general and other funds $802,500 and future increments would be sufficient to pay the debt for the Blaine-Central district.
“If we do get some development in the Blaine-Central … district, then we would certainly use that to cover,” Vito said, reducing the city’s reliance on the Interstate Business Park tax district.
The Plan Commission plans to hold a public hearing during its regular meeting at 3 p.m. Oct. 16.