Northern Colorado Regional Urban Renewal TIF Study Underway

6 Nov

In light of recent urban renewal projects in northern Colorado, several northern Colorado governmental agencies have agreed to cooperate in a study that aims to develop an improved process for evaluating future Tax Increment Financing (TIF) proposals. The Cities of Fort Collins and Loveland, Towns of Berthoud, Estes Park, Johnstown, Timnath, Wellington, Windsor, as well as Larimer County, Foothills Gateway District, Poudre River Public Library District, Health District of Northern Larimer County, Thompson School District, Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District have all agreed to participate in the study.

The desire of the municipal and special district executives participating in the regional TIF study is to develop and agree to a process for future TIF proposals that will provide for the economic well-being of the people of Larimer County. The goals of the study are threefold: to develop a method to qualify and quantify the economic benefits and financial risks of TIF proposals; to identify and address the differences of TIF proposals and corresponding financial effects on taxing entities; and to adopt formal agreements that balance the benefits and risks among the participating Larimer County entities.

All of the participating municipalities and special districts agree that economic vitality is an important component of community well-being and tax increment financing is an important redevelopment tool for urban areas, because blighted conditions that are not remedied or prevented can impact economic vitality. Services needed to support other important components of community well-being are dependent on property tax for funding, and tax increment financing can impact funding for these services. The regional TIF Study will develop tools to better quantify the impacts (positive and negative) of TIF proposals on the region.

Tax increment financing proposals are necessarily variable because of the many factors that influence an optimal balance between urban redevelopment objectives and other broad public interests, so it is understood that the regional TIF study will need to recognize and address critical differences between major types of TIF proposals. Furthermore, the cooperating entities appreciate that consistency and predictability aid understanding and long-range planning for all parties involved in TIF proposals (municipalities, property tax dependent entities, developers, and citizens). As a result, it is the intent that the regional TIF study will result in intergovernmental agreements regarding the process and parameters of future TIF proposals.

A Requests for Proposals was released in the early fall and the study group is currently in the process of hiring a consultant to assist in the evaluation and analysis. It is anticipated the study will be completed by mid-summer 2015.

Author Tom Leeson is the City of Fort Collins’ Redevelopment Program Manager overseeing the Fort Collins Urban Renewal Authority and assisting with redevelopment projects across City departments. Tom Leeson, AICP, is a land use planning and real estate development professional with 15 years’ experience. Tom has extensive knowledge in both public and private sector planning, and practical real estate development experience. He has worked in multiple other jurisdictions, as well as for Clarion Associates in Fort Collins.

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