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Wausau delays vote on TIF dollar use

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Wausau City Council Chambers
Wausau City Council Chambers
Keene Winters, on TIF distri... (Download MP3)
Lisa Rasmussen on TIF distri... (Download MP3)
Wausau City Council meeting ... (Download MP3)

WAUSAU, WI (WSAU) -  Using a tax incremental finance district to fund projects outside of the district’s borders was an issue for Wausau aldermen Tuesday night.

The council is considering extending the life of TIF district #2 so that the available dollars can be used to help with blight reduction and development elsewhere, including the Thomas Street corridor.

Alderman Keene Winters argued against the practice, saying TIF #2 has served it’s purpose and should be closed.  "I think we're obligated to close that TIF and split up that tax increment again, return it to the general funds of the city, the school district, the county, and the tech district and allow them to use that money.  I think we strain relations with our TIF partners when we continue to keep projects open.”

Council President Lisa Rasmussen disagrees, saying in the long run, investing these dollars will lead to development and an even stronger tax base.  "When we look into TIF district funding, it is largely useful as a tool to eliminate blight, and revitalize neighborhoods, and the area we are proposing the use of (TIF) funding is sorely in need of that.  I believe if you build strong infrastructure, properly planned infrastructure, that all sorts of development could occur along that corridor. The possibilities to redevelop neighborhoods and increase the tax base that exists along Thomas Street on on either end of it is huge."Rasmussen says she has received positive feedback from other taxing districts supporting efforts to redevelop blighted areas.

No decision was made at Tuesday’s Council meeting. Rasmussen moved to delay votes on four items affecting the budget until two absent council members could attend and vote.

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