Bennington TIF District Plan Approved

19 December 2017

For Immediate Release November 21, 2017
Contact: Daniel Monks, Bennington Assistant Town Manager, (802) 447-9708

BENNINGTON, VT. -The State has given the Town of Bennington approval for a Tax Increment Financing District in Bennington's Downtown, a move that will allow the Town to keep some of the incremental property taxes generated by new development within the Downtown to fund public infrastructure required for that development to occur.

On November 17th, the Vermont Economic Progress Council (VEPC) gave unanimous final approval to the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District and Finance Plan after a rigorous VEPC staff review and deliberations by the VEPC Board that included a meeting in Bennington, public comment, and a tour of Bennington's proposed TIF District.

"The Bennington TIF District Plan includes exactly the downtown revitalization envisioned by the TIF program," stated Stephan Morse, Chair of the Vermont Economic Progress Council. "This was an excellent Plan and a well-prepared application that the VEPC Board was pleased to consider and approve."

The TIF District was created by the Bennington Select Board on September 11, 2017 following a series of public meetings.

"We are delighted with the State's approval of Bennington's TIF District Plan. TIF is one of the many opportunities the Bennington Select Board has targeted to support the Select Board's ongoing efforts to improve Bennington's economy and strengthen our community," said Tom Jacobs, Bennington Select Board Chair, "The development enabled by TIF will benefit Bennington, the region and the State."

The authorization allows the Town of Bennington to use a portion of the incremental property tax revenues generated by new development within the TIF District to finance certain public infrastructure projects such as brownfield remediation, construction of improved public parking facilities, streetscape improvements, water system improvements, and improvements to public parks, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, all groundwork that will encourage private sector development projects planned for the Downtown to move forward. That development, in turn, will generate incremental property tax revenues, that otherwise would not have been generated, to pay for the infrastructure debt.

The Bennington TIF plan is designed to facilitate the private development of multiple downtown properties including a phased re-development of the Putnam Block, seen as a catalyst for the Town's re-development efforts, and other sites such as the BennHi (former Middle School) building, and the former Tuttle's Hardware site.

Before the Town can incur any TIF District infrastructure debt, the voters of Bennington must vote on bonds to be issued by the Town for TIF District infrastructure projects. Inthe corning months the Select Board will determine the scope and amount of the first bond for voters to review.

"The Bennington Select Board has made economic development its highest property," stated Town Manager Stuart Hurd, "Not only will TIF enable the construction of essential public infrastructure projects, but the development it facilitates will result in job growth and an increase in Bennington's Grand List."

With a TIF District the value of existing development within the district is frozen at the time the District is created by the municipality. All property taxes generated by that original base value continue to go to the municipal general fund and the education fund.

For 20 years, 100% of the municipal property taxes and 70% of the State education property taxes generated by any new development may be used to finance the TIF District infrastructure debt. Daniel Monks, Assistant Town Manager, said of the recent approval of the TIF District Plan: "TIF is a powerful economic development tool that creates a revenue stream to finance necessary public infrastructure development without burdening the local taxpayers.  TIF will be essential to the Town's economic revitalization efforts."

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