Board looks for security before signing on to Corners TIF
Public will have a chance to weigh in
Members of a joint review board for the tax-incremental financing district that is the economic foundation for building the Corners development in the town of Brookfield made it clear at their first meeting Tuesday they will need clarification and more details before they bless the project.
The retail and residential development includes establishing the Iowa-based retailer Von Maur as an anchor. It includes building 120 to 150 residential units.
"I want to vote for this, but I want to vote for something manageable," said Norm Cummings, the board's chairman.
Cummings, director of administration for Waukesha County, is one of five board members who represent the taxing authorities connected to the project. Other members are Dan Warren, president of the Waukesha School Board; Cary Tessmann, chief financial officer of Waukesha County Technical College; Rick Czopp, town administrator; and Jay Walt, a town resident.
Need closer look
Cummings, Warren and Tessmann expressed the need for more information about the $38 million investment, including interest rates and whether developer Marcus Corp. will sign a letter of guarantee for the entire project.
"Those are perfectly normal questions to ask," said Michael Harrigan, senior financial adviser of Brookfield-based Ehler's & Associates, the town's financial partner that developed the proposed financing plan. "The board needs to be comfortable with it."
So does the Town Board. The public also will weigh in at a Sept. 26 hearing before the Plan Commission. The review board is expected to meet and render its decision by early November.
"There is a lot to do, but it's great that the boards are reviewing this and the public will see it," Czopp said. "It seems like it's happening fast, but we have been looking at this for the past two years."
He also said the project development has been purposely conservative.
"There are a lot of distressed TIFs out there," Czopp said.
In an executive project summary describing the district, Ehler's ticked off a list of economic advantages the district would create, including raising the value of the property within it from $66 million to $243 million. The project is expected to create 110 full-time and 40 part-time retail jobs with an annual estimated payroll of $3 million, as well as create an estimated 270 additional restaurant and service jobs.
The construction work itself is expected to generate 325 jobs over an 18-month period at an average hourly rate of $33, $52 with benefits.
Approving the special financing district means the town would commitment to pay for improved road work, installation of sewer and water lines and demolition of vacant buildings. A bridge would be built across Poplar Creek that is at the east end of the project site.
District, town info
The financing district is proposed as a rehabilitation or conservation district in accordance with special legislation approved under 2011 Wisconsin Act 11, which allows a town to create such financing, a move previously allowed only for cities and villages.
Harrigan said he is not concerned with the town's ability to complete the project.
"Yes, it's a town, but it's an urban town that has the needed resources," he said.
Earlier this year, the town of Brookfield retired its debt. Asked by the review board if the town could handle a needed increase in municipal services such as police and fire, Czopp said there are enough cash reserves.
WHAT: public hearing on TIF district for Corners
WHEN:7 p.m. Sept. 26
WHERE:Town Hall, 645 N. Janacek Road
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