DDA Continues to Fine Tune Tax Incentive Process

~ by Bob Volpe ~

The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has been working to
streamline and simplify their application for businesses seeking a TIF
agreement (tax incentive agreement) with the DDA.

Al Born and Ellen Carrick were given the task of researching TIF
agreement applications from cities around the country and to come up
with a skeleton draft document that the Woodland Park DDA can use.
The need for a new, more specific, standard, and air tight TIF
agreement application was deemed necessary because of confusion and
inconsistency of the process by which the DDA handled TIF agreement
applications in the past.

Carrick reported, “We have been getting a foundation for our new TIF
policy and application. It’s still a work in progress. It explains
what a TIF is, the purpose, and where our TIF authority comes from. It
moves on to objectives which somewhat summarizes our foundation plan.”
She went on explaining that they are trying to keep the finance
assistance by applicants out of it because it would be difficult for
the DDA to evaluate without having a financial expert or banker review
the documents.

Instead, the developer or owners provide a funding plan to include
project funding, letters of commitment, and capital sources.
She continued, “We then moved on to the process of TIF approval. We go
through the reimbursement process and an application form asking what
the nature of the project is, time table, and budget.”

At a past DDA meeting, Park State Bank president Tony Perry raised the
issue that special events are not the purview of the DDA. DDA
Chairperson Merry Jo Larsen addressed Perry’s concern regarding the
DDA’s roll in special events. Larsen said, “The DDA really does not
want to be the head of the events committee, whoever that is going to
be. We’re just kicking it off because we are the owners of Woodland
Station and because we would like to see some events happen over there
this year, hopefully sooner than later. That we are kind of taking the
lead of the events committee process but we really want to work
closely with Main Street. I just want to say again, events are not the
DDA. We are encouraging them (Main Street), we are working with them,
we will have Woodland Station, but we really want to have this be a
stand alone events committee working closely with Main Street, with
city hall, with whoever the party may be.”