Franklin - The Community Development Authority on Jan. 17 unanimously recommended the Common Council hire consultant Ehlers and Associates to study the feasibility of expanding a tax-incremental financing district along 27th Street in the northeast corner of the city.
TIF District No. 3 currently extends from Drexel Avenue to just north of Rawson Avenue. The possible expansion would take the district north to College Avenue.
But the CDA also unanimously decided to indefinitely delay consideration of possible expansion of TIF District No. 4, which extends along 27th Street from Ryan to County Line roads.
Expanding the district now, when it "isn't able to maximize its potential, doesn't make sense," authority member Linda Ryan said. Instead, "delay this until creating a TIF makes the most sense for taxpayers."
Paul Rotzenburg, the city's deputy finance director, had urged delaying any expansion of TIF District No. 4 until at least 2017, when a more definite timetable for reconstruction of the road might be available.
While the state Department of Transportation plans to rebuild 27th Street north of Drexel in 2017, reconstruction of the four miles south of Drexel will come at least four years after that. With an uncertain timetable, "it may be premature to make many decisions regarding that portion of the street," Rotzenburg said.
He pointed out that while funds generated from development in TIF District No. 4 have paid for extending sewer and water service along 27th Street and improvements to Oakwood Road, plans have been drafted for additional sewer, water and road improvements in the area. Also, TIF funds cannot be committed to projects after 2020.
"If the project were delayed beyond 2020, the district could not participate," Rotzenburg said.
Mayor Tom Taylor said that if and when District No. 4 is expanded, that expansion might be more limited.
"Much of 27th Street from Drexel down to Ryan Road is a residential district," the mayor pointed out. "I don't know if it's wise to include residential neighborhoods in a TIF district."
Taylor said expansion might only be advisable north to Ryan Road, since "south of Ryan Road, 27th Street is commercial."
Rotzenburg provided the CDA with projected 2017 costs for improvements along 27th Street between College and Drexel. The cost of burying utilities is estimated at $2.6 million, with Franklin paying 90 percent of this cost and Oak Creek paying 10 percent. Other work, including installation of sidewalks, streetlights and landscaping, is estimated at $977,241, with the two cities dividing the costs equally.
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