WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) --
A stroke of the Governor’s pen Friday brought Wausau city leaders what they were hoping for. Scott Walker signed Senate Bill number 32, which specifically grants Wausau permission to lengthen tax incremental district #3 by ten more years with the ability to amend it a total of five times.
Mayor Jim Tipple says this is good news for the city, as it works to develop the riverfront downtown without creating a new and longer-term TIF district.
Tipple says the additional time is helpful, since the economic downturn made it difficult to spur development during the past five years. “In 2008, the economy, you know, went into the tank and Wausau was no exception, so we lost some development years.”
The Mayor says the city could not extend the life of the tax incremental funding district without the state’s approval, which they just received. “What we asked the state, the Legislators and Senators, to do was to take a look at if we could extend our expenditure period for another ten years, because we just bought the riverfront property about three years ago and that would really help us out. Otherwise, the expenditure period would end in 2016.”
The city could have created a new TIF district, but Tipple says they preferred to not create another district. “We could have closed the TIF and come up with another TIF for 27 years, but what we decided to do is, we just wanted to have the expenditure period increased to ten years. It’s not another TIF that’s going to run a long time. This one will be done after ten years, and I think that’s a very prudent decision on the part of the city.”
Tipple says they have been talking to potential developers for the property on the east bank of the Wisconsin River in downtown Wausau, but so far, nothing definite. “These are initial stages. Until they get a little more serious, we really don’t talk about them, but as different plans come through, I am very confident in a couple of years, we’re going to have some solid development.”
With the Governor’s signature, Senate Bill 85 became Act 32. This extends the final year during which expenditures related to project costs can be made from 2016 to 2026. It also extends the closure date ten years from 2021 to 2031.
The Assembly and Senate both passed the bill unanimously.