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Ellsworth Village Board warned of future deficits in TID district

The Ellsworth Village Board held off Monday on voting on a resolution approving the district boundaries and project plans for the TID (Tax Incremental financing District) No. 7 due to a warning about future deficits in the district running into the millions.

The TID district is to be set up for the Crossing Meadows Development along Hwy. 65. But Wendy Sander of Cedar Corporation, engineering firm from Menomonie, told the board that, because of a change by the state Department of Revenue in the way it was assessing commercial property for equalized tax value along with the poor economy preventing much business development in Crossing Meadows, the potential for a deficit in the TID fund for this district is a very real possibility, according to their numbers.

"If there's a deficit, then it comes out of the general fund to pay for it and I don't think anyone wants that," Sander said.

Sander explained this is not just a problem affecting Ellsworth, as many communities across the state are getting the same news about TID districts not producing anticipated revenues. The board could choose to go ahead as planned, hoping things improve economically or, Sander explained, go another route by getting the state to declare such a TID district as "distressed," which would allow the TID to be extended for another 10 years, and allow previously closed TIDs to be reopened and have revenues directed from them into the distressed TID or have flourishing TIDs the village has opened divert funds into the distressed TID.

Sander said there's a bill pending before the state legislature which will allow local municipalities more flexibility to do this and she said the bill stands a good chance of passing by the end of the week. What the bill would allow Ellsworth to do is set up a brand new TID for projects like the proposed senior assisted living facility.

"Of course if you do this, the drawback is you have to start all over again and it's more paperwork," Sander said.

For more please read the June 8 print version of the Herald.