Perception of Marble Falls program varies, depending on official
July 30, 2013, 9:00 am by Emily Zendt
City officials have been abuzz with plans for implementing a new program known as a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Zone that would earmark increases in property tax values in a specific part of town for public improvement projects in that same area.
"The word tax scares people… but it’s really just property tax apportionment,” said Marble Falls Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Christian Fletcher.
When a TIF is in place and the value of a property in the zone increases due to development, the difference between the new and old values would go into a special fund designated for public improvement projects like parking lots and sidewalks in the zone.
"The area that generates the income sees the improvements,” said Mayor George Russell. "It is not in competition with any other city institution.”
According to Fletcher, most of the dissent to the TIF comes from business and property owners who want to be included in the zone but there is also some hesitation among members of the city council.
"I am concerned that this approach will put our property tax increases on steroids. Once appraisers see the increases in the TIF district, what would keep them from raising our appraisal and or taxes more frequently?” asks City Council member Reed Norman.
Under state law, a TIF zone cannot be more than 15 percent of the total appraised value of real property taxable by a county or school district.
For the full story, see Tuesday's edition of the The Highlander.
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