Delta city using tax increment financing for improvements

GREENWOOD — The city of Greenwood has devised a plan to help private developers pay for street, lighting and other improvements to the public infrastructure — tax increment financing.

The Greenwood Commonwealth reports the city council approved the plan last week.

TIF is a public financing method that provides communities with a means to fund redevelopment and infrastructure improvements.

A community is allowed to borrow money against the future growth in property tax revenue within a designated TIF district that is made possible by the improvements

“The way TIF works is the developer agrees to a TIF plan. ‘I’ll build all of that infrastructure’ for example streets, curb, gutters and street lighting to the city’s standards. I’ll build the building that I am building at my expense,'” said Laurence Leyens, with Urban Planning Consultants Inc. of Vicksburg, which the city hired to begin the process.

Leyens said once the tax assessor establishes a value on the improved land, the developer becomes eligible to be reimbursed for the public infrastructure expenses of the project.

Leyens said the council is not “pledging the good faith and credit of the city or the county in any way shape or form. There is no cost to the taxpayer.”

If a developer doesn’t pay his taxes, the burden falls on the bond issuer, not the city or county, Leyens said.

While there are presently no projects that would qualify for tax increment financing in the city, Angela Curry, executive director of the Greenwood-Leflore Industrial Board, said recent developments at the intersection of Mississippi Highway 430 and U.S. Highway 82 prompted the Industrial Board to look into it.

“We are always looking for ways to help our community grow. Tax increment financing is another tool that can be used to encourage business development,” Curry said.

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