They’re taking it under advisement with a decision in two weeks …
The Thief River Falls City Council last night hearing from residents, public officials, developers and business leaders as a full house turned out for a public hearing on establishing a Tax Increment Financing District to host a new apartment complex on South Pennington. Resident Tim Benedict appealed to the council to get beyond what he called the “rah, rah and the bull kah kah” to consider the “wisdom of the proposal …”
Educators, business leaders and community organizers testified last night to the critical shortage of housing after Public Finance Officer, Rebecca Kurtz laid out the proposal for TIF financing, a 26 year reimbursement of property taxes to subsidize development of infrastructure for the proposed complex, known as Rocksbury Apartments. Residents questioned the need for this project with TIF financing already approved for 2 previous projects, although Kurtz said last night, in both cases, developers are having difficulty finding investors.
No one in the audience appeared to disagree with the need for temporary, short term, affordable housing – however Benedict and others said there is an issue of fairness, with other property owners paying the full burden of property taxes while the housing project gets a temporary deferral – questioning whether the TIF District was truly needed to make the project a reality.
Attorney Mark Granger- representing property owner Karl Bjorkman – reminded the council that the purpose of the hearing was to listen and consider the issue, objecting to the resolution to create the TIF District, already drawn up and included in last night’s agenda. Ultimately, the Council did listen, for more than 2 hours – tabling the resolution to give the Council time to consider last night’s testimony with a vote in 2 weeks, at the next regular meeting July 17th.