By Carrie Lynch
Holt Journal staff reporter
Director of Community Development Tracy Miller proposed an idea to extend TIF plans from 2024 to 2036 for the future development of Holt.
The Downtown Development Authority Board of Delhi Township proposed this idea at the board meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 29. in order to get the city of Holt more economically stable as well as a close knit community.
Tax Increment Financing, or TIF, is a tool for local governments to help restore a rundown area of a community or help revive the economically sluggish parts a city. When a city establishes a TIF, excess tax money gets redirected towards the reconstruction of whatever the city is in need of. As a town develops, the tax revenue increases, leaving more money for future development. This creates a trend that helps the city continue to make money and keep developing.
The plan is to update the main area of Holt on Cedar Street. These improvements will be specifically along Willoughby to College Road. Miller explained that businesses along Cedar struggle, and to help them succeed a change needs to happen.
Miller wants it to be “very clear that you aren’t in South Lansing” when you pass the border between the two cities.
Miller suggested various infrastructure projects focusing on better traffic management, such as street parking, she explained.
DDA Executive Officer Howard Haas also believes a change is necessary for the city of Holt. He explains that things cannot be fixed, but instead replaced. For example, Haas said there needs to be a change in the street lights, they “can’t be repaired, must be replaced.”
The DDA plans to propose their ideas to McKenna Associates, community planners and economic development specialists, in anticipation that they can help Holt “promote infrastructure that makes the town walkable, getting more people outside,” said Miller.
Miller explains that Holt doesn’t have the right environment for certain companies. For example, chain restaurants such as Panera would not spend the money opening a new building in Holt when they can do it somewhere else for a lot cheaper. The foundation in Holt is not stable enough for a company to build a new building without reconstructing the environment. This is why it would be easier and less expensive for a new company to open somewhere other than Holt.
The TIF will help the city reconstruct the environment to make it more available for new companies to open.
Haas explains that in order to move forward with this idea they must get other districts to approve.
This ultimately leads them to ask the question, where is all of this money going to come from?
Kim Cosgrove, the board treasurer, stated during the meeting that the capture rate would increase from 25 percent to 40 percent. The capture rate of a TIF is the percentage of the taxes collected and then used for the improvements for the city. By increasing the capture rate, more money will be directed towards new infrastructure
Haas firmly believes that these improvements will be a “nice way of adding to our community.”
Miller trusts that the DDA has a very strong argument to get approved. All persons of the DDA voted yes on extending TIF plans until 2014 to 2036, if it meant helping the city of Holt be the best it can be.