Lyon County Board puts Marshall TIF objections into writing

MARSHALL — The Lyon County Board is following through on a suggestion to write a letter objecting to a proposed Tax Increment Financing District in Marshall. At their regular meeting Tuesday, county commissioners approved a draft letter asking that the city of Marshall instead use some of the excess money collected by an existing Marshall TIF district.

County commissioners, including Charlie Sanow, said they thought the letter should be sent to the State Auditor’s Office, as well as to Marshall city council members and city staff.

“It isn’t because I don’t want to see the city of Marshall grow,” Sanow said. Rather, he said, it was because of concerns about the proposed project competing with local developers, and the possibility of the TIF district staying open longer than necessary.

The board’s response came after news that the area EDA and a developer are requesting up to $2.07 million in TIF to reimburse some of the costs of proposed apartment buildings near Legion Field Road. The proposal would build 106 apartment units, with a portion of those units being income-based housing.

The county can provide feedback on the TIF proposal.

On Tuesday, commissioners went over a draft of their comments to be sent to Marshall council members and city staff. The draft letter said Lyon County “is not opposed to TIF districts used as a financing tool for qualifying costs to increase industry or productivity.” However, the letter went on to day that commissioners still urge the city of Marshall to close TIF districts once expenses are recovered, instead of letting the districts continue to collect increment.

The letter cited a 2016 city report on Marshall’s Channel Parkway TIF district, which said the district’s total increment balance was more than $3 million. An additional $434,000 was captured for that TIF district in 2017, and $448,000 is scheduled to be captured this year, the letter said.

“The existing TIF district in that area has operated for 26 years in direct competition with other local developers,” the letter said. While the proposal for the new TIF district is for a pay-as-you-go note, Sanow said the new district could be open for another 26 years.

The letter called for the city to use some of the increment captured in the Channel Parkway district for the proposed apartments, instead of opening another TIF district that would compete with local developers.

“Why won’t they use that money there themselves?” Sanow said during discussion of the letter.

Commissioners said they shared Sanow’s concerns. The board voted in favor of a motion by Commissioner Steve Ritter that the board approve a final edit of the letter and send it to Marshall council members, city staff, and the State Auditor.

The TIF proposal will have a public hearing, before the Marshall City Council acts on it.