Interesting story in the Lincoln Journal Star this morning. We hope Dorchester's elected board members, including the two newest, read it.
According to the Lincoln paper, when the Dorchester-headquartered Farmer's Cooperative put up new silos in 2012 in McCool Junction, McCool's city government "used a boost in tax increment financing revenue to give the entire village a facelift -- redoing streets and sewers, refurbishing parks, even acquiring land."
The Journal Star reports that "when a redevelopment project adds value to a 'substandard and blighted' property, TIF allows cities to capture the additional property taxes on that added value to help pay for related improvements that have some public benefit, generally using a bond that is repaid over 15 years."
Nebraska had 766 TIF projects as of last year. That's a big number of community improvements. Dorchester should be in that mix.
Of course, a good attorney will be needed to walk the village board through the process. But just think of the opportunities:
- Maybe a new apartment or row-house building on the site of an abandoned, neglected home. (The one on 9th Street comes to mind.)
- Perhaps a refurbished commercial building on main street.
- Or what about the next time the Farmers' Cooperative does another major, $1-million-plus project in town, like any one of the silos that have gone up here in the past half dozen years?
You need to give people a financial incentive to spend big dollars in small communities. And when they do, our village should be capturing those extra property tax dollars (created by increased property values) to benefit our community's quality of life.
Dorchester's elected leaders need to start getting creative. Examining the use of TIF in Dorchester might be a good start to help improve our community's businesses, street conditions, and housing stock.