The Tomah City Council approved the creation of Tax Incremental Finance District 9 at Tuesday’s council meeting.
The council approved the resolution 4-3, with council members Mary Ann Komiskey (District 1), Luke Bohlen (District 2) and Wayne Kling (District 7) dissenting.
TID 9 is an industrial district at Townline Road and Industrial Avenue. It would allow development of properties in and around the city’s industrial park.
The district includes 58 parcels with an value of $37 million on 415 acres.
Andrew Bremer of MSA Professional Services, a contractor hired by the city to work on TID development, said the TID is intended to be driven by development incentives and private investment.
“When project plans are created for new TID districts ... you’re going to be heavy on costs related to constructing brand new roads, extending sewer and water, sanitary sewer out into an area,” he said. “This area already has those amenities.”
The district was initiated after the city was approached by a business looking to expand, Bremer said.
“So that really kind of jump-started the thought process of creating this district, but as we looked at this area, we realized that there were a number of parcels in this area that could really benefit from creating a TID district,” he said. “There are a lot of parcels and businesses that could benefit from this district over the next 20 years.”
Development in the TID area began in the 1970s with most of the development occurring in the 80s and 90s, Bremer said. Some of the development is approaching 40 years old, so opportunities exist for redevelopment.
“It certainly provides opportunities to provide incentives for existing businesses to expand or the potential for the city to play a role in helping to attract new businesses to the area,” he said. “Once we started to dive into the district ... there were definitely opportunities for multiple businesses to expand.”
Bremer said razing existing buildings and consolidating parcels can “create a site that would meet more modern standards for businesses and what modern businesses might need as far as maybe a potentially larger site and maybe a newer building out there.”
Bohlen voted against the TID’s creation. He said a new TID isn’t needed.
“I’m currently satisfied with the way the TID we have is functioning, and based on conversation with my constituents and some general analysis of the business environment as a whole across the nation and the development of our economy, I feel comfortable with the incentives that are currently available,” he said.
Komiskey there was too much uncertainty surrounding the TID.
“We weren’t sure about what the jobs were that were coming in and that our workforce in Tomah could accommodate the company,” she said. “The other thing was there was no signed agreement with the business that they definitely are going to expand. So I didn’t feel comfortable without having that assurance.”
Council man Mike Murray voted for the TID. He said it’s important for cities to anticipate the future.
“One thing to take a look at, when it comes to these TIDs ... while I can’t quote it verbatim, there is an old Greek proverb that says, ‘the success of a society is based upon old men planting trees of which they should never enjoy the shade,’” he said. “When we are putting these things together, we have to keep in mind that ... these are projections down the road, these are trees that are planted that we don’t know how tall they’re going to be or how much shade they will cast, and some of us may not even be around for the trees to grow, but it is, in fact, things to think about for down the road with the community and the potential benefits that could exist.”
In other business, the council:
- Passed a resolution for the allocation of excess tax increment from TID 9 to TID 8.
- Approved a professional service agreement with MSA for the creation of TID 10, which would be located on the south end of the city near the new Tomah Health hospital project.