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Worthington City Council to establish tax increment financing district

Council members dealt with a number of matters during their Monday night meeting, including public hearings, the 2022 tax levy, polling places and a burning permit.

Worthington City Hall
Worthington City Hall. (Brian Korthals/Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON — The Worthington City Council dealt with a lengthy agenda Monday evening, including public hearings on the establishment of a tax increment financing district, as well as a reconstruction project on Eighth Avenue. The certification of the 2022 tax levy, and a number of other matters, were also addressed.

Rebecca Kurtz, the city’s municipal advisor, presented information during a public hearing on the establishment of a tax increment financing, or TIF, district in the city of Worthington. The district would encompass five parcels of land in two separate areas, the former ready-mix site and a former gas station located on Lake Street that consists of three parcels.

The establishment of the TIF district would allow for redevelopment to these areas by locking in a base tax rate during the duration of the TIF district. Funds are then generated from the difference between the value of the improved property and the locked base value.

There is currently an estimated maximum budget of approximately $5 million over the 26-year term of the TIF district, with the hope that those areas would be redeveloped into some type of commercial use after the site has been acquired and cleaned up.

“There are still some unknowns on what might be developed or redeveloped for the site,” said Kurtz. “But if the council does go forward with establishing the TIF district, it puts the tool in place that future development and increment could be used, either to reimburse the city for expenses that may be incurred, or for entering into an agreement with a third party”

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The council approved the TIF district as presented.

Eighth Avenue Reconstruction Project

The Council also conducted the first of two public hearings that are required as part of assessment proceedings for the Eighth Avenue reconstruction project. The Project has been part of the city's capital investment plan since 2006, and its main objectives involve reconstruction of the street surface, reduction of sanitary sewer inflow and infiltration, and increasing flow capacity and reliability of the water system. Depending on the type of surfacing used, the cost would be just under $1.6 million or just under $1.4 million.

Although several residents showed up in support of the project, it was not without opposition. Marie Wasmund-Mews, who rents out a small house on that street, stated the cost of the project would be a burden for her renter and other small home owners.

“It isn’t real feasible for the small homes that are on (the street),” Wasmund-Mews said. “And there are quite a few.”

While the council entertained a discussion of what type of surfacing material to use for the construction project, members ultimately decided to view bids for both concrete and bituminous before ruling either out.

2022 Tax Levy

The City Council also took action to certify the final levy amount of $5,681,145, representing a 12.44% increase over 2021, as discussed during a special city council meeting on Dec. 1. The levy includes a general-purpose tax levy of $4,530,712 and special tax levies of $1,150544.

In other action, the City Council:

  • Approved a burning permit for Minnesota West Community and Technical College to allow them to complete a maintenance burn on the pollinator plot on the Worthington campus.

  • Approved the third reading of a proposed ordinance to rezone a property from a transition zone to a planned unit development.

  • Approved a resolution designating polling places for election precincts for the 2022 primary election and the 2022 general election.

  • Approved the terms for the 2020-24 law enforcement labor services contract, including adjusted longevity payments and increases to compensatory time.

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