Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Special Tax District May Be Put in Place Public Meeting Set for Plan to Help Rebuild Valley

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Special Tax District May Be Put in Place Public Meeting Set for Plan to Help Rebuild Valley

Article excerpt

Chesterfield officials have taken the first step toward approving a proposal for a special taxing district to help rebuild the flood-damaged Chesterfield Valley.

At the same time, the City Council threw a bone to the residents who came to Monday's council meeting to ask for further consideration and delays in establishing the district, known as a tax increment financing district.

The bone was in the form of a public hearing, set for 5 p.m. Oct. 17, before the next council meeting. The council is expected to vote on the taxing district at a meeting following the hearing. Colleen Hilbert, 1st Ward, is the chair of the council's financial and administration committee. She said Tuesday, the bill establishing the taxing district could be amended after the hearing. But she said she thought the concerns and questions of council members and the public would be answered at the public hearing.

"We want to get out as much information as possible to people," Hilbert said. "But I don't see any negatives in doing a TIF. "

A tax increment financing district - or TIF, as such districts are known - would freeze property tax revenue within the district at the level based on current assessed values. Income from increased property values would pay for projects in the special financing district. The district would remain in place until all the projects are completed or for 23 years, whichever comes first.

The idea is that the desired development would not take place without the special financing and that once the development occurs, all local taxing entities benefit from the new taxes on the improved property.

The special financing would pay for all or part of the $72.5 million in improvements needed to make Chesterfield Valley ready for the sort of development that city planners envision. Proceeds from the TIF district are expected to be $74.6 million over the next 23 years.

Revenue from TIF districts typically is spent to build roads or install utility lines to attract development.

Hilbert said the council had not decided what projects the TIF would finance. "We're just starting a savings account. The future council, in about five years, will make the major decisions as far as what type of infrastructure we want," she said. …

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